NIOC’s exploration director, Seyed Mahmoud Mohaddes, told Iran’s official energy news agency Shana the contract was agreed following an international tender for the Moghan 2 oil block in the northwest of the country.

NIOC has previously completed exploration deals with PetroVietnam and Italy’s Edison International in February and March this year (MEED 12:3:08).

It follows a meeting with oil majors in Vienna earlier this year where Iran offered 17 exploration blocks in new areas of Iran in an effort to diversify beyond the traditional oil producing areas in the southwest.

While there was some drilling on the two Moghan blocks in the northwest earlier this decade, an injection of new investment is needed to develop it into a commercial field.