Germany's largest oil and gas producer is awaiting a decision by state-owned National Iranian Oil Company on approving a contractor for the onshore Sohrab Oilfield near the Iran-Iraq border, NIOC's news portal reported.
A meeting was reportedly held at the NIOC headquarters in Tehran last week to study the German company’s development proposal for Sohrab Oilfield. The field is located some 115 kilometers northwest of the city of Ahvaz in Hoor al-Azim Wetland.
Officials at the Department of Environment and environmentalists accuse the Oil Ministry of not doing enough to protect the wetland, Financial Tribune reported.
Experts say Hoor al-Azim in Khuzestan has mostly dried because of activities in the past several years to extract oil using outdated techniques. The wetland has now become the biggest domestic source of dust storms in western Iran. Established in 1894, the German giant Wintershall produces oil and gas in Europe, North Africa, South America, Russia and the Middle East, and has a workforce of more than 2,000 employees worldwide.
Wintershall, which is part of the giant chemical and energy conglomerate BASF Group, has explored opportunities to develop Iran's hydrocarbons following a memorandum of understanding signed in April 2016.
According to the MoU, Wintershall was assigned to study four crude oil reservoirs in western Iran. Wintershall has also voiced interest in holding oil- and gas-related training courses in Iran and expanding collaboration in research and development projects.
Tehran has intensified efforts to involve foreign oil and gas majors in its key petroleum industry after years of financial and trade curbs that deprived its economic and energy projects funds and technology. Total, Gazprom, Schlumberger, Pertamina and Petronas are among oil majors studying Iran's hydrocarbon reservoirs. But major companies at home insist they too should be part of the new oil and gas development opportunities. The Oil Ministry says major upstream projects will be developed jointly by Iranian and international companies, while smaller fields will be awarded to domestic companies.