Khatam al-Anbiya Construction, an affiliate of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has signed two gas development deals with the Iranian Oil Ministry worth approximately $1bn.

Mehdi Fakour, managing director of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC) said the firm signed deals on 30 April to develop the Halgan and Sefid Baghoon gas fields in the Fars province in the south of Iran, according to semi-official Mehr news agency.

The deal comes despite no tender being released. Fakour explained that under new Oil Ministry regulations, contractors with “favourable financial capabilities” can take part in the projects without a tender.

The company acts as the engineering arm of the IRGC, which has become increasingly involved in providing domestic contracting services with operations in mining, telecommunications and the oil and gas sectors. Reporting directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, the IRGC is listed as a terrorist organisation by Washington and has been directly targeted in the latest round of UN sanctions on Iran.

In June 2010, three years after starting work, the company withdrew from the development of two phases of the South Pars gas field as a result of US sanctions (MEED 18:6:10).

The two gas fields are expected to produce about 670 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. The Halgan field, discovered in early 2010, has estimated reserves of 12.4 trillion cubic feet and 249 million barrels of condensates. The Sefid Baghoon field contains 249 million barrels.