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Japan, Iran still negotiating over Iranian oil field development

Japan, Iran still negotiating over Iranian oil field development

A senior Japanese trade official said Thursday that Japanese and Iranian oil companies were still in discussions over a US$2 billion (euro1.6 billion) project to develop Iran's Azadegan oil field.
Talks over tapping one of the world's largest oil fields have reportedly stalled because the U.S. has urged Tokyo to freeze the project over Iran's suspected development of nuclear weapons.
Early Thursday, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency quoted the head of the National Iranian Oil Company as expressing the view that Japan's Inpex Corp., a state-designated oil development company, had lost its right to develop the field due to failed negotiations between the two companies, Kyodo News agency reported.
But Vice Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takao Kitabata told reporters later in the day that the two sides were still "conducting difficult negotiations" that are likely to continue for a "very long time" due to the number of negotiation items on the table.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also denied the discussions had ended, and said Japan would continue to follow developments closely.
Inpex spokesman Shuhei Miyamoto refused to comment on the state of negotiations. He added that Inpex was aware Iranian media had reported NIOC managing director Gholam Hussein Nozari as saying that Inpex had lost its development rights, but had been unable to confirm if Nozari had actually made the comments.
The loss of rights to tap Azadegan would come as a blow to resource-poor Japan, which is heavily dependent on oil from the Mideast.
The two companies signed a contract in 2004 to jointly develop the Azadegan oil field, thought to be one of the largest in the world.


Updated : 2021-05-17 06:54 GMT+08:00