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The Iranian government and Russian energy giant Gazprom have reached
The Iranian government and Russian energy giant Gazprom have reached an agreement on oil and gas cooperation, the national Iranian oil company (NIOC) said on Wednesday.

"Iran and Gazprom have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the development of oil and gas fields, as well as investment and exploratory studies" NIOC Managing Director Seifollah Jashnsaz said in an Iranian TV broadcast.

Jashnsaz said the parties were continuing negotiations with a view to reaching a final agreement and signing a contact.

Iranian Petroleum Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari said on Tuesday he hoped the ongoing negotiations with Gazprom to develop several sites at the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf and the North Azadegan oil deposit in the country's south would be successfully concluded in the near future.

Gazprom has been participating in the development of the South Pars field's second and third stages together with France's TotalElf and Malaysia's Petronas. The facility is operating in design mode to produce and process 20 billion cu m of gas annually.

Iran's proven natural gas reserves total over 28 trillion cubic meters. In 2006, gas production in the republic was 105 billion cu m, with consumption standing at 105.1 billion cu m. Gas accounts for 53% of the country's energy balance, oil 44%, the hydropower industry 2% and coal 1%.

South Pars holds 60% of Iran's reserves, and 10% of known global reserves of natural gas. The deposit is a part of the North Dome deposit, the largest non-associated gas field in the world, situated in Qatar and Iran.

The North Azadegan field has reserves of about 33 billion barrels of crude.


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