Did America Just Get Left Behind On This Emerging Oil Play?

Short, but very important note for the global oil and gas industry this week. Suggesting that a few select players in the business are making a big move on one of the world’s newest petro-plays.

That’s Iran. A nation with top oil and gas potential — which is quickly shaping up as the next “gold rush” in the business, as the country moves toward a lifting of Western sanctions.

Local press in Iran reported that some oil and gas players are moving especially fast to take advantage of this shift. With European companies squarely leading the pack.

Reports noted that a “Norwegian-Austrian” group of companies has already finalized a “master development plan” for one of Iran’s key offshore oil fields, Esfandyar. Suggesting that this conglomerate will be involved in revamping production from this asset.

The owner of Esfandyar, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), suggested that this may be a first step toward a full-blown foreign contract for the field. With IOOC’s managing director Saeid Hafezi saying that the European group is “ready to start work based on Iran’s new oil contract models.”

At the same time, press reports noted that IOOC is also in talks with “a Ukranian company” on development of the Dorud oil field. And Russian press said Iran is already negotiating with European majors Total and Eni on possible field contracts.

All of which puts Europe firmly in the lead when it comes to securing big assets in a newly-opened Iran.

By contrast, American E&Ps appear to have made nearly no in-roads into the petroleum sector here. Raising the risk that big prizes could already be doled out by the time they get to the table.

The Iranian government has said it will formally start shopping oil and gas projects for foreign investment this December in London. We’ll see what’s left for bids by that time.

Here’s to first-mover advantage,

Dave Forest

dforest@piercepoints.com

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