Belarus energy firm to work Iran oil fields for $450 million

Initiatives

A Belarusian energy company was on Wednesday to sign an agreement worth $450 million to develop two Iranian oil fields, the Interfax news agency reported.

Belorusneft, the former Soviet republic’s state-owned oil and gas exploration and production company, will drill wells and bring to production two oil fields in the Jofeireh region, some 80 kilometers south-west of the Iranian city Ahvaz. Gholam-Hossein Nozari from Iran’s Oil Ministry was Tehran’s representative at the signing ceremony. Financing for the project will come from the Vietnamese energy company Petrovietnam, with personnel and equipment supplied by Belorusneft and Iran’s Oil Ministry, said Aleksander Liakhov, Belorusneft chief executive. Once complete the development program will add 40,000 barrels daily to Iranian oil production, Liakhov predicted. At present two exploration wells have been drilled in the Jofeireh district and seismologists were researching the best location for further wells, he said. The drilling rigs and most other equipment are of Belarusian manufacture, he said.

Both Iran and Belarus are economically isolated from many developed economies, Tehran because of its nuclear power program, and Minsk because of the authoritarian government of Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko. Lukashenko during 2007 has lobbied intensively to develop new sources of energy for the former Soviet republic, in response to Russia’s decision to double the price of oil and natural gas sold to Belarus. The Iranian city Ahvaz lies in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, and was the site of heavy fighting during the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s. Iran has experienced difficulty attracting foreign investment to the region. (m&c.com)

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