A series of Iranian recent upstream announcements highlight a renewed drive to develop offshore and border fields. The announcements come as mounting international sanctions against the Islamic Republic threaten to pull production still lower. The pressure is prompting Iran to review its upstream structure in a bid to attract new investment (MEES, 15 February). But none of the announcements came with a timetable attached.

Sanctions hit the Iranian oil sector hard, with high premiums now being paid for equipment and severe delays affecting almost all projects (MEES, 18 January). On 3 March, Iranian drilling firm GPTKish won a €207mn 10-well contract as part of 65,000 b/d development of the Azar field bordering Iraq. This is the third major Azar drilling contract award, with Persia Oil and Gas Development Company winning the previous two. A 30,000 b/d Phase 1 Azar development will involve nine wells, seven of them production wells, a work over of the Azar-2 well, and construction of a 129km pipeline. The 35,000 b/d Azar Phase 2 will need nine production wells, gas treatment facilities for a planned 89mn cfd, and construction of both crude and gas pipelines. (CONTINUED - 291 WORDS)