DUBAI, April 15 (Reuters) - Iran is likely to award up to five oil exploration and production contracts to local firms, with the first deal expected within months, a senior oil official was quoted on Monday as saying.
Foreign energy companies, including France’s Total , have suspended plans to invest in Iranian oil and gas projects after the United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran last year.
Saleh Hendi, head of exploration at state-run National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC), said an exploration and development contract was expected to be signed with Negin Afagh Kish Energy Development Co (TENCO) within two months for the Toudej oil block, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.
NIOC signed a memorandum of understanding with the TENCO group for geological and geophysical studies at Toudej, located in southern Fars province, in February, the oil ministry’s news website SHANA reported.
“Within a year, three or four exploration blocks will be developed by local firms,” Hendi said, according to ISNA.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Dale Hudson