Iran Delays London Oil-Contract Debut to Mid-2014, Adviser Says

Iran is postponing by about three months a conference at which it plans to introduce new contract terms to international energy companies, an adviser to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

The London event, originally scheduled for early April, will be held instead in late June or early July, Mehdi Hosseini, the head of an Oil Ministry committee that reviews contracts, said today in a phone interview from Tehran.

“We’re seeking good results, and it’s preferable to have more time to prepare,” he said. “There is a lot we want to do, and we had planned very optimistically.”

Iran’s existing buy-back contracts require companies to pay for oil and natural gas exploration and recover their investment from any production at a pre-arranged rate of return. Hosseini said in November that the nation, hampered by economic sanctions over its nuclear program, was working on new terms that conform more closely with international norms to attract foreign partners to help develop energy resources.

Iran started curbing its nuclear activities on Jan. 20 in line with an interim accord with six world powers under a Nov. 24 agreement in Geneva. The pact is the first major change in the deadlock over Iran’s nuclear project since 2003. Iranian oil exporters, financial institutions and companies linked to its nuclear program continue to be sanctioned under the deal.

The content of the planned oil conference, which will introduce opportunities in “post-sanctions” Iran, won’t change, Hosseini said.

“We consider that we’re proceeding on a path where sanctions are being lifted,” he said.

Iran is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and holds the world’s biggest proven gas reserves, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy published in June 2013.

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