London — BP will look for upstream opportunities in Iran once sanctions on the oil producing country are lifted, but is unclear what Tehran's intentions are for its new oil contracts, BP's chief executive Bob Dudley said Tuesday.
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Dudley added he was wary of rushing into Iranian projects until the situation with the sanctions regime was clear.
"If the sanctions are relaxed in a way that allows us to go work there, obviously we would explore opportunities in Iran. We are not actively in that phase," Dudley told reporters.
"The agreements as laid out are quite complicated and actually no one really knows all the details yet. As a company that works all over the globe it would be natural for us" to work in Iran, he said.
"There's some speculation out there -- various things, maybe service contracts, or PSAs, or tax and royalty -- but actually it is not clear to us what their plans are [on contracts]," he added.
Once sanctions are lifted, Iran hopes to attract top international oil companies to its upstream sector to help it develop its vast reserves which total about 157 billion barrels of oil and 1,200 Tcf of gas.
Iran held initial talks with companies including BP, Shell, Total and Eni on potential projects earlier this year.
Iran's top oil official told a Vienna conference last week the country has identified nearly 50 oil and gas projects totaling $185 billion to be entered into by 2020.
Iran's deputy oil minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia said the country's Integrated Petroleum Contract -- under which new projects will be awarded -- "will address some of the deficiencies of the old buyback contract."
Representatives from BP were present at the Vienna conference which was organized by the Tehran-based Ravand Institute and with the participation of several European chambers of commerce.
But Dudley said he was anxious to avoid ensnaring BP in legal trouble by moving too fast.
"We've been really careful. We want to make sure that there is absolutely nobody that can accuse us of violating the sanctions. We have had enough trouble with regulators," he said.
Iran is due to present its opportunities in upstream oil and gas at a London roadshow later this year.