TEHRAN, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- An Iranian defense official said talks were under way with the oil ministry to develop four oil fields in southern and western Iran.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said the government was developing oil contracts with domestic companies.
Qassemi early this year said Iran was working to cut its dependence on foreign suppliers for its oil and natural gas industry in an effort to become self-sufficient.
Mohammad Alizadeh, a deputy director of development at an agency tied to the defense ministry, said contracts were in the works for four oil fields in southern and western Iran, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports. Contracts, he said, could be worth $4 billion.
Tehran in April said it signed a $2.1 billion deal with an unidentified Spanish entity for the manufacturing of equipment for the Iranian oil and gas industry.
A series of U.S. and European sanctions target Iran's energy sector. Tehran is suspected of financing a controversial nuclear program through oil and natural gas revenue. The Iranian government maintains its nuclear program is peaceful, however.