Iran is likely to tender its South Azadegan field next month, with only a limited number of firms to be invited to place bids on the south-western field, which lies on the Iraqi border.

National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) chief executive Ali Kardor said a tender would be expected on South Azadegan in March – after missing its target for January. He also hinted at the possibility of developing the field in a consortium with British, Japanese and French companies, in comments reported by Iran’s Financial Tribune newspaper.

Meanwhile, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said only a limited number of companies would be pre-qualified for the tender, in comments reported by Mehr News Agency.

The Islamic republic, which saw nuclear sanctions lifted in January 2016 has been looking to drive investment into its energy sector and in January pre-qualified 29 international companies to participate in fields to be tendered .

South Azadegan will be the first oil field to be tendered under the new Iran Petroleum Contract has been drawn up to facilitate development of oil and gas fields. Since last year, the NIOC inked a number of preliminary agreements with international companies to study such concessions.

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