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EghtesadOnline: Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company on Saturday to expand scientific, technical and exploratory collaboration in the oil- and gas-rich region.

The agreement was signed by Seyyed Saleh Hendi, NIOC’s head of Exploration Department, and Mohsen Delaviz, managing director of KEPCO, in Tehran on Saturday, Shana reported.

The MoU is aimed at boosting collaboration between the state-owned oil company and KEPCO on broad-ranging issues, such as drafting a framework for the development of Caspian Sea hydrocarbon reserves under the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), implementing an agreement signed with Russia’s Lukoil to study the region’s oil and gas potentials and conducting studies on offshore and onshore fields of the southern part of the sea.  

Lukoil signed two preliminary agreements with NIOC and KEPCO in Moscow this month to help Iran tap into its fossil fuels in the north, where the country has produced zero barrels and no amount of gas despite sitting on the world’s fourth-biggest crude and second biggest natural gas reserves, according to Financial Tribune.

Officials say the agreements, signed after several months of negotiations, could unlock Iran’s massive hydrocarbon reserves in one of the world’s biggest offshore oil and gas regions.

Iran’s energy map shows investments in oil and gas fields have been mostly concentrated in southern regions, where it shares the giant South Pars Gas Field with Qatar in the Persian Gulf and several oilfields with Iraq.

Russia, the second-largest oil producer, has suffered from sluggish production because its fields, located mostly in Western Siberia, are mature and depleted. But it has been focusing on growth in new production regions, such as the Caspian Sea and Iraq, Reuters reported last month.