Italy's biggest oil and gas firm hopes to pick up where it left off in the Darkhoveyn project. It completed the first and second development phases of the oilfield under a $550 million contract it had signed in 2001.
Eni had submitted a proposal to develop Darkhoveyn's third phase and was reportedly close to finalizing a $1.5 billion agreement in 2009, but it was forced to halt operations following the fallout between Iran and the West over the country's nuclear program that led to imposing tougher economic restrictions against Tehran in 2011 and 2012.
Darkhoveyn oilfield is located 30 kilometers north of Khorramshahr and 100 kilometers south of Ahvaz. It holds an estimated 5 billion barrels of crude oil in place, more than one-fifth of which is deemed recoverable.
The reservoir is part of a string of oilfields in the West Karoun block near the Iran-Iraq border holding a total of 67 billion barrels of crude oil. Philippines’ state oil company, PNOC, and Ghadir Investment Company, a subsidiary of Bank Saderat Iran, are separately surveying the field.
Iran is reportedly drawing around 160,000 barrels per day from Darkhoveyn. The third phase is aimed at raising daily output by an additional 50,000 barrels.
Kish Gas Field
The Rome-based company also looks to secure the development rights of the Kish Gas Field which was discovered nearly 50 years ago.
Located 30 kilometers east of Lavan Island in the Persian Gulf, it holds an estimated 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in place and more than 500 million barrels of gas condensate.
Royal Dutch Shell, one of the seven producers of the Big Oil club alongside Eni, is also in talks over the Kish field. A top oil official said in March the Anglo-Dutch company could win the field's development rights as it was "the only company to have shown interest" in the Kish project, but Eni's addition to the race can ratchet up competition for the gas reservoir.
Eni joined the growing ranks of customers of Iranian crude in December, taking in its first shipment from the OPEC producer after four years. The company has discussed the prospect of a long-term oil supply agreement with Iran.
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 of funds and technology.
Total, Gazprom, Schlumberger, Pertamina, and Petronas are among the big names studying Iran's hydrocarbon reservoirs. Tehran says it hopes to sign the first oil and gas deals with multinationals in two months.