Tehran - Agreement has been reached on the Darquain oil field project in Iran, said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi on Wednesday. Mr Descalzi had just come out of a meeting in Tehran with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, Italy's Foreign
Minister Paolo Gentiloni and its Minister for Economic Development Federica Guidi. Eni has trade receivables worth 800 million euros with Iran, but had been in dispute over the buy-back contract for the onshore oil field development, signed in 2001. "Agreement has been reached over the Darquain oil field receivables," said Mr Descalzi. "Reciprocal agreement has been found," confirmed Minister Zanganeh. Mr Descalzi said it was now a question of timing, and he had great confidence that things would move quickly. During his meeting with the oil minister, he talked about the future: "Iran is one of the major countries in the world in terms of gas. It is the leading gas-producing country and among the top countries for oil and gas production. This provides a great many opportunities, as well as a new greenfield vision for the Caspian Sea, and involvement in the fields already under development with a view to increasing production and reserves. Therefore, I would say that there is a great challenge. The crucial part will be the contractual content: the Iranians are already working on it [Minister Zanganeh announced on Wednesday that they would be "much more attractive" and would be presented in London in November, Ed.], and we will certainly look over the contracts together and make our views known. As far as Eni is concerned, and this is important, it is not the country's gas and oil capacities that are under discussion, it is the type of contracts around which future discussions will revolve." With regard to potential operations in the gas sector, Mr Descalzi said: "it depends on transport costs. Iran is a long way away.
European gas prices are very low at the moment, so I think, like the Americans and the Iranians, sending gas to Italy is at the limit. At these prices, it's at the limit. I believe the Iranians have a much closer market in the Pacific, as well as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, India and China, where prices are higher. All these could prove to be a possible outlet at a time when European gas prices are too low to attract Iranian gas." (AGI)