TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Inpex Corp is in the running to develop a major oilfield in Iran, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday, as Tehran looks to aggressively ramp up crude output following the lifting of sanctions.
Japan's top energy developer is a strong candidate for the project after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to look into developing the Azadegan oilfield, Kyodo said, citing Noreddin Shahnazizadeh, managing director of Iran's Petroleum Engineering and Development Company.
Kyodo reported that a tender would be held around the first quarter of this year.
An Inpex spokesman declined to comment on the report, which also said that France's Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Malaysia's Petronas and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) had signed similar MOUs.
Inpex in 2010 was forced to give up a stake in the Azadegan oilfield due to Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
Iran has named 29 international companies as being allowed to bid for oil and gas projects using the new, less restrictive Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model, including five Japanese firms, Inpex, Itochu Corp, Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex), Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsui.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford