EghtesadOnline: The Oil Ministry has endorsed six domestic companies to develop oil and gas fields, adding them to the list of 11 enterprises already approved to operate in Iran's upstream petroleum sector.
"Six new Iranian companies have qualified to operate as exploration and production contractors," Habibollah Bitaraf, deputy oil minister for engineering, research and technology, was cited as saying by Shana on Saturday.
Bitaraf is nominated for the position of energy minister in the second and last term of President Hassan Rouhani.
The list includes Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company, Kayson Inc., Iran Ofogh Industrial Development Company, Pars Petro Zagros Company, Global Petro Tech Kish and Sina Energy Development Company, according to Financial Tribune.
Last year, the ministry certified 29 firms as domestic oil and gas contractors, including energy and engineering company MAPNA Group, Khatam-al-Anbia Construction Headquarters and the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran.
Domestic companies are meant to partner with international majors to develop dozens of oil and gas development projects.
Tehran has approved 34 foreign firms for collaboration in its energy market, including Royal Dutch Shell, Germany's Wintershall, Russia's Lukoil and Gazprom, Schlumberger, OMV and Maersk.
State-owned Petropars, Iran's largest E&P company, is part of a deal to develop Phase 11 of the giant South Pars Gas Field under the leadership of France's Total and alongside China's CNPC.
Tehran hopes the gas deal, its first major contract with a top western company after last year's lifting of sanctions, will prompt other big names to throw caution aside and bring in much-needed technology and investment to the oil- and gas-rich nation.
Officials say the partnership of domestic companies with oil majors will gradually enhance the technical and managerial know-how of Iranian firms and turn them into credible international E&P contractors.