Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft may replace Gazprom Neft in a project to develop the giant Azar oil field in Iran, Kommersant business daily said on Friday, quoting sources close to the deal.
Iran chose Zarubezhneft itself, sources told the paper.
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's gas giant Gazprom, and Iranian state oil company NIOC signed an agreement to develop the Azar field in November 2009. This September Iranian authorities said Gazprom Neft was delaying the project design process, while media said Gazprom Neft saw no future for the deposit.
Last week the Iranian oil ministry signed a $1.9 billion contract with local Oil Industries Engineering & Construction and the Oil Pension Fund Investment Co. to develop the field. Oil production is planned to reach 65,000 barrels a day.
Foreign investors can work in Iran only as operators, and will get remuneration for extra oil after the return of their investment in the project, Kommersant said.