TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The oil field was once named as the biggest oil field in the world after it was discovered over 15 years ago.
The leading European bidders for the project include Total (France), Shell (UK/Hollande), Eni (Italy), Wintershall (Germany), Rosneft (Russia), OMV (Austria) and Maersk (Denmark), said Managing Director of the Petroleum Development and Engineering Company of Iran Nouroddin Shahnazizadeh.
He also noted that other Asian companies including CNPC and Sinopec (China), ONGC (India), Pertamina (Indonesia), Petronas (Malaysia) and PTTP (Thailand) would also participate in a tender over South Azadegan.
Shahnazizadeh noted that officials from the bidding companies stayed in Iran for three days to become fully aware about the conditions of the project. Almost a dozen of them, he added, had been even taken to visit the project site.
Nevertheless, Shahnazizadeh did not indicate when the tender over South Azadegan would be held.
Iran has repeatedly postponed the tender over the giant field which it jointly shares with Iraq.
Reuters quoted an unnamed Iranian official as saying in June that the bidding over the project had been delayed by another few months.
This, the unnamed official told Reuters, was meant to allow energy companies more time to study the field.
Iran discovered Azadegan oil field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades. The country accordingly teamed up with Inpex to push the project toward development. However, the Japanese company later quit the project in what appeared to be the result of US sanctions against Iran.
The NIOC later divided the project into South Azadegan and North Azadegan and both were awarded to China’s CNPC when Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) was in office.
The media reported in 2014 that Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh had sidelined CNPC from South Azadegan due to its protracted delays in developing the field.
South Azadegan is believed to hold an in-place oil reserve of about 33.2 billion barrels and its recoverable resources estimated at about 5.2 billion barrels.