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EghtesadOnline: Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Wednesday Iran has opened talks with a major Russian company on developing the coveted Farzad-B Gas Field in the Persian Gulf as long and drawn out negotiations with Indian officials have not produced the desired results.

“To save time, we are in parallel talks with Russia’s Gazprom over the Farzad-B Gas Field as well as the Farzad-A project. They have not yet presented their proposal,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying by IRNA on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

He said domestic experts are conducting surveys on the field “just in case negotiations with foreign firms fail.”

In an interview with Argus energy publication last week, Zanganeh said Iran had signed two basic agreements with Gazprom over the development of North Pars and Kish gas fields in addition to the Farzad projects, according to Financial Tribune.

The three ventures would give Gazprom a strong foothold in Iran’s gas industry if finalized. Indian media say that Tehran’s potential deal with Gazprom on Farzad-B Gas Field was in response to New Delhi’s recent move to cut purchases of Iranian crude oil.

The reduction reportedly was itself in response to Iran’s refusal to award the rights to develop Farzad-B to an Indian consortium, led by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited, after Tehran said India’s proposal was not attractive. India is Iran’s top oil client after China, and last year imported about 510,000 bpd of crude from the country, according to shipping data.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh Iran gas Iran gas fields Farzad-B Gas Field