Iranian drilling company eyes cooperation with SOCAR

By Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan and Iran, the two Caspian littoral countries rich in hydrocarbon resources, have recently intensified economic relations, in particular in the energy sector.

Following President Ilham Aliyev's February 23 visit to Tehran and signing of 11 bilateral documents, the energy companies of the two countries have expressed their willingness in expanding cooperation.

One of such companies - Iranian North Drilling Company, specialized in the implementation of projects in the Caspian Sea, is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR.

Fatemeh Yazdani, the head of NDC's Marketing Department, told Trend that it would be a great honor to work with SOCAR, particularly, to establish a joint venture to develop Iranian projects in the Caspian Sea.

The North Drilling Company's activity profile allows to say that this company's cooperation with SOCAR would be very fruitful both for the two companies, as well as Azerbaijan and Iran.

The Islamic Republic's company enjoys significant experience in offshore drilling in the Caspian Sea. It has drilled two wells in Sardar-e Jangal oil and gas field, located in deep waters of the sea by the Amir Kabir semi-submersible drilling rig.

Recently, the North Drilling Company extended contract with the Dragon Oil Company for 11 years. The company drilled some 60 wells for Dragon Oil Company in Turkmenistan's shallow waters in the Caspian Sea.

Over 11 months of the current fiscal year, the company has drilled seven wells for Turkmenistan.

Yazdani went on to add that the NDC is also interested in exploration and production projects, "if SOCAR wants to enter Iran and intends to receive fields from the Oil Ministry."

"We are ready to work with them," she said.

The NDC, who earlier won a tender on Kurmula gas field development in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2015, is ready to cooperate with SOCAR in this project, as well as other foreign projects.

Azerbaijan and Iran, two neighboring countries and strategic partners, have been strengthening ties since the removal of international sanctions against Tehran in January. This is more obvious especially in the energy sector.

The two countries are expected to intensify energy cooperation significantly strengthened after SOCAR's signing two memorandums of understanding with National Iranian Oil Company and Ghadir Investment Company as part of President Ilham Aliyev's Tehran visit on February 23.

Today, Baku and Tehran are engaged in the implementation of several oil and gas projects. In particular, the Islamic Republic participated in the development of Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea.

The two countries also carry out gas swap operations: Azerbaijan supplies its fuel to Iran’s northern provinces while Iran ensures the gas demand of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Currently, the possibility of transporting Iranian gas through Azerbaijan to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor is high on the agenda of talks between the two governments.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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