Japan's Inpex leaves Iranian oil field

Oct. 15, 2010 at 7:58 AM

TOKYO, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Japanese oil and gas company Inpex said Friday it reached a deal to leave the Azadegan oil field in Iran where it held a minor stake.

The U.S. State Department last month published a list of international energy companies that stopped doing business in Iran in part because of increasing pressure from economic sanctions.

"Inpex Corporation announced today that its affiliate, Azadegan Petroleum Development Ltd., reached an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company regarding the withdrawal from the Azadegan development project in the Islamic republic of Iran where APD had a 10 percent participating interest," the company's Friday statement read.

The company didn't indicate why it was leaving the project.

The Azadegan field is along the Iraqi border with Iran and has estimated reserves of around 33.2 billion barrels of oil.

Early exploration of Azadegan started in 2007 with a production rate of 20,000 barrels per day. Iran said last year it plans to increase that output to 30,000 bpd once new phases come online.

International oil traders such as Vitol started to leave the Iranian energy market in early 2010 as sanctions pressure mounted.

The United States and European Union passed unilateral sanctions in July that target the Iranian energy sector. Japan followed suit in September.

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