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TEHRAN, August 29 (Itar-Tass) — Iran has rejected Gazprom Neft’s participation in developing the Azar oil field on the border with Iraq, Mehr News Agency quoted a representative of the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum as saying on Monday.
According to Hamid Karimi, instead of the Russian company a consortium, which is created by a group of Iranian firms, will develop the Azar field.
A decision to this effect was taken due to the delay in implementing the project, Karimi said.
Iran is the second oil exporting country within OPEC and the fourth world oil producer.
Last week, the Iranian government said it was puzzled by the fact that the Russian company Gazprom Neft, which was an outlet of the natural gas giant Gazprom, had not yet signed an agreement on developing the Azar oilfield.
He said the drafting of an agreement on developing that oilfield had taken two years and the document was mentioned at the talks that the Russian Minister of Energy, Sergei Shmatko, had with the Iranian oil minister.
“Alas, Gazprom Neft refrains from signing the document for eight months already,” Sajadi said.
He recalled that 40 percent of the area covering the oilfield is located in Iran and the other 60 percent in Iraq.
“It looks like Gazprom Neft is much more interested in operations on the Iraqi territory,” Sajadi said.
The Azar oilfield is located in Iran's south-western province of Ilam. It was discovered in 2005 and prospected by the Norwegian corporation Norsk Hydro.
According to the assessments provided by the Russian corporation LUKOIL, Azar contains two billion barrels of crude.
Gazprom Neft and the Iranian National Company signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on the project in November 2009.