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India Looks to Access Huge Iranian Gas Supply
Feb 03, 2015

In a renewed effort to hold on to promising energy assets, India has offered Iran an integrated package for developing the Farzad B field in the Iran, which includes swapping gas from the field with other Iranian gas at Chabahar port and also laying pipeline for transportation of the surplus gas to India.

  • The Farzad B field, estimated to have 21.68 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves, was found by ONGC Videsh (OVL).

  • It was found under a 2008 preliminary pact with Iranian authorities, but no formal contract to exploit the resources has been signed till date.

  • US sanctions on Iran prevented both sides from making any headway in commercial exploitation of the reserves.

  • With India offering a new package, Iran has now said that it would renegotiate the deal as per a new Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC).

  • Developing the Farzad B block in the Persian Gulf requires an investment of $3-5 billion.

  • Iran hasn’t yet taken a call on India’s offer, but both the countries are considering laying an undersea pipeline or revive the stalled Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline.

  • The head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) have told Indian officials that a term sheet will have to be signed, which would include time-frame, price, offtake arrangement and governing law.

  • The master development plan would be subject to the new IPC. Iran said the earlier discussions were a closed chapter.

The new IPC would be different from earlier service contracts and would provide long-term deals. This would go beyond exploration to commercial production phase. The operator would not be allowed to book reserves. The revised format may be similar to the one offered by Iraq, where operator gets a reimbursement on an agreed percentage of production value.

Iran also said that perhaps India is negotiating with different gas-prolific countries such as Qatar to get a good price and not very keen to invest in Farzad B fields that require huge investments. Iran is interested in using oil storage space in India. The first strategic crude oil reservoir at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh will be ready this year.

OVL spent nearly $90 million in finding hydrocarbons in the Farzad B field in the Farsi block. OVL is the operator of the Farsi block that hosts the Farzad B field with a 40 per cent stake, while Indian Oil has another 40 per cent interest, with Oil India holding the remaining 20 per cent.


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