* Iran hopes to attract BP, Lukoil and Gazprom among others
* Aims to launch tenders in two to three months
By Can Sezer
ISTANBUL, July 10 (Reuters) - Iran is readying its first round of oil and gas exploration tenders since the easing of economic sanctions, hoping to attract the likes of BP and Gazprom, an Iranian energy official said on Monday.
Sitting on some of the world’s biggest energy reserves, Iran has already been working on deals to develop existing fields such as South Pars, South Azadegan, Yadavaran, West Karoon, Mansuri and Abe-Timur.
France’s Total last week became the first major to sign a post-sanctions development deal with Iran. Russia’s Lukoil and Denmark’s Maersk are also potential investors.
Next on the horizon is the search for new oil, with the state national oil company (NIOC) planning to tender 14 oil and gas blocks for exploration in the next two to three months, NIOC’s deputy director for exploration blocks, Rahim Nematollahi, said on the sidelines of an energy industry conference in Istanbul.
Most of the new exploration blocks are in the Zagros, Koppet Dagh and the Middle Eastern Gulf region and would require minimum exploration expenditure of between 14 million euros ($16 million) and 80 million euros.
The biggest exploration expenses are expected for blocks Parsa and Bamdad in the Gulf, amounting to 80 million euros and 75 million euros respectively.
Nematollahi also said that BP, Austria’s OMV, Gazprom, Lukoil as well as Italy’s Edison and Malaysia’s Petronas have expressed interest in new exploration blocks. ($1 = 0.8780 euros)
Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by David Goodman