TEHRAN, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Iran and Russia tightened their embrace in the energy sector through an agreement to study the prospects for oil fields near the Iraqi border, directors said.
Directors from the National Iranian Oil Co. and Gazprom Neft, the oil division of Russian energy company Gazprom, met in Tehran for the signing of agreements to study two oil fields in the Iranian border with Iraq.
"Changuleh - which sits on Iran's border with Iraq - is already proving to have become one of Iran's emerging top oil project prizes," Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reported.
Iran is working to bring foreign investors back to an energy sector previously shuttered by sanctions imposed for its controversial nuclear sector. Iran and Russia have established energy ties, with the latter supplying some of the fuel needed to power the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.
Norwegian oil company DNO in November said it would examine the possibilities for the development of the western Changuleh oil field, which is estimated to hold more than 2 billion barrels of oil in place.
The agreement with Russia follows a decision from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member states to curb production starting in January. Much of the agreement hinges on cooperation from non-member states like Russia and Iran is the only OPEC member given room for more production.
Speaking from the sidelines of a signing ceremony, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said he expected crude oil prices would hold steady at around $55 per barrel in response to the production agreement.
"All signs show the prices will rise and this is while none of the producers have reduced their production by even one single barrel," he said.
The production agreement enters into force Jan. 1. It won't be until early 2017 that actual production figures for January are reported to OPEC.