June 2, 2017 / 9:36 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Gazprom Neft, OMV to work together in Iran under MoU

* OMV started work in Iran in 2001

* OMV, Gazprom have cooperated for decades

* Gazprom Neft to tap OMV's Middle East knowledge (Adds details)

VIENNA, June 2 (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom Neft and Austria's OMV will work together in Iran's oil sector under a memorandum of understanding, OMV said on Friday.

"Preliminary possible spheres of cooperation include analysis, assessment and study of certain oil deposits located in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran in cooperation with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)," OMV said.

OMV could help Gazprom Neft in the initial geological assessment of two blocks in Iran, Vadim Yakovlev, first deputy general director at Gazprom Neft, said in the statement.

OMV started operations in Iran in 2001 as the operator of the Mehr exploration block in the west of the country. It halted operations in 2006 due to sanctions imposed on Iran.

Following sanctions relief granted last year as a result of a nuclear deal Iran reached with world powers, OMV signed a memorandum with the NIOC for projects located in the Zagros area in western Iran and the Fars field in the south, where foreign companies often need a local partner to operate.

In January, OMV, which has singled out Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran as growth areas, signed an agreement with Tehran-based Dana Energy on the development of oil and gas fields.

OMV and Gazprom have worked together for five decades and have deepened their cooperation since Rainer Seele took over OMV two years ago by buying into and swapping assets for stakes in Siberian fields and helping to finance the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely

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