Iran is seeking compensation from Norwegian oil firm Statoil for its withdrawal from the Khorramabad oil block in the west of the county.

Statoil has agreed to compensate for its withdrawal of Khorramabad exploration block, which it signed in 2006, after stopping working on the project and closing its office in Tehran in April, according to local English language daily Tehran Times, citing state-owned Mehr news agency.

A spokesman for Statoil would not comment on whether it has held any talks with state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) over the block.

The company signed a $49.5m exploration deal for the Khorramabad oil block with NIOC in 2006. It completed its survey and the drilling of exploratory wells in November 2009.

“We have no planned activity for this licence [Khorramabad]. We have a limited presence in Iran and our office is only there to work on legal and financial reparation claims and financial closure on the South Pars and Khorramabad licence”, says the spokesman.

Statoil also signed a contract in 2002 to act as the operator of phases 6,7 and 8 of the offshore South Pars gas field until its completion in 2009 when it passed over the operatorship to state-owned NIOC.

Since then Statoil has provided technical services to the NIOC for the offshore facilities from its Tehran office, as part of its existing service contract, which was concluded in the beginning of the second quarter of 2011. All operational activities were then transferred to NIOC.

Statoil has previously taken part in exploration and drilling activities in Iran, on the Anaran field in western Iran along with Russia’s Lukoil. The partners secured exclusive rights in 2005 to negotiate a development plan for the Anaran field, but the Russian firm suspended work in 2007 due to US sanctions. Statoil’s work on the project was stopped in August 2008 (MEED 4:8:11).