TEHRAN, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Iranian government considers development of oil and gas fields shared with neighboring countries a top priority, the country's oil minister said.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying Tehran was "seriously pursuing" activity in oil and gas fields that straddle its borders.
"And all government bodies support and accompany the oil industry in fulfilling this important task (development of joint oil and gas fields)," he said.
Iranian officials in August said they were waiting for their counterparts in Iraq to start preparations for bilateral development deals.
Formal markings defining much of the border between both countries were destroyed during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Engineers accompanied Iranian troops to take control of well No. 4 at the Fakkah oil field in Iraq's Maysan province 2009. Iranian forces eventually pulled back, but only about 160 feet from their original location.
In early October, the Iranian Oil Ministry announced it signed a contract with state-controlled oil companies to develop the Azar oil field within the next five years. Tehran said production there could reach more than 50,000 barrels per day. The field, along Iran's western border, is shared with Iraq.