The Iranian government plans to release new oil contracts by the end of 2015, according to Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh. The announcement will come at a year-end conference in London, the minister said, and will include at least 50 new oil and gas projects worth an estimated $185 billion.
The contracts will form part of Iran’s Integrated Petroleum Contract” framework and will see Iran give up exploration, development and production rights to foreign firms, under certain operational and environmental conditions. Iranian companies are also expected to form substantive partnerships both with other Iranian firms and some international firms. Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni have already expressed interest in the contracts that will soon be up for grabs.
Given the size of Iran’s oil and gas reserves, it’s perhaps no surprise that talks between oil majors and the Iranian petroleum ministry predates the finalization of the nuclear deal. Earlier this year the Iranian government announced that it had received positive “feedback” from Russian and European international oil firms including Lukoil OAO and Total.
US oil and gas firms remain barred from publicly commenting on the prospect of commercial relations with Iran until sanctions are lifted.
Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch
- The Kazakh government is suing a number of opposition media outlets in a New York federal court. The suit arises from 70 gigabytes of email and document leaks, although it does not target the leakers, which are still seemingly unknown. Instead, the suit targets Respublika, one of the most prominent Kazakh opposition websites, among others. The Kazakh government seeks to invoke the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to block the publication of the leaked documents on opposition websites.
- RFE reports that progress is being made on negotiations between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan following the latest outbreak of violence near the border. The first round of talks have reportedly brought limited results, one Kyrgyz delegate told RFE. The latest bout of violence stemmed from the blocking of a Tajik road leading to a cemetery frequented by nearby Kyrgyz villagers.
- The son of a former Iranian president has begun a 10 year prison term in Tehran. Mehdi Hashemi is the son of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafansanjani and has been incarcerated due to a litany of crimes ranging from embezzlement and fraud to “security offenses.” It is unclear if the sentencing of Mehdi Hashemi was at all politically motivated.
- EurasiaNet reports on economic difficulties in Armenia. The article attributes the brunt of its economic woes to its accession to the EEU. Specifically, it cites a 20.6% drop in foreign trade and a steep drop in remittances engendered by the downturn in the Russian economy. One step that Armenia may take to mitigate its economic troubles is privatizing its postal service. Currently the postal service is state-own, but managed by a company that belongs to an Argentine-Armenian billionaire named Eduardo Eurnekian.
- A suicide blast in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz killed 29 on August 8. A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into a pro-government militia convoy and detonated it. Four of the militia’s commanders were killed in the attack, Afghan officials say. The attack representatives one of several attacks carried out by the Taliban over the last few days, and raised the week’s casualty total to around 50.