The deal marks the first phase of development in the field which is estimated to have 48 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The first 12 wells will be drilled onshore, with the second phase of 15 test wells to be done offshore.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has previously forecast production of 3.5 billion cubic feet a day from the field, with around 75 per cent of all gas reserves thought to be recoverable.

India’s ONGC Videsh and Tehran’s state-run Petropars held talks earlier this year with NIOC over development of the field.