TEHRAN, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Iran is embarking on one of its first domestic ventures to help develop the giant Kish natural gas field in the Persian Gulf, executives said.
Seyfollah Jashnsaz, the head of the National Iranian Oil Co., said a consortium led by Iran's Bank Mellat and the NIOC signed a $10 billion contract during the weekend to develop the Kish gas field, Iran's Mehr News Agency reports.
"It is for the first time that an all-Iranian consortium takes the responsibility of carrying out such a big project and this comes at a situation when the country is threatened by global economic sanctions," he said.
Executives said in May that if foreign developers were apprehensive about dealing with Iran at Kish, domestic contractors would assume responsibility over the plans.
Tehran last week announced plans to spend roughly $9 billion to develop its domestic natural gas infrastructure as part of a five-year development plan.
A weak domestic capacity and pressure from economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear program prevents the Islamic republic from realizing its full capacity, however.
The NIOC estimated the giant gas field holds roughly 45 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The field was discovered in 2006.