BHP To Review Iranian Foroozan-Esfandiar Oilfields Rejuvenation Project

BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc, the world's largest diversified miner, said today that it was reviewing whether it would participate in the Iran Foroozan-Esfandiar oilfields rejuvenation project.

Iran said in May that a deal had been finalised with private energy company Petro Iran to boost output from the offshore Foroozan-Esfandiar oilfields, where production has tailed off in recent years to around forty thousand barrels per day.

Petro Iran was expected to look to BHP Billiton to become a partner in the project, providing financial clout.

But a BHP Billiton London-based spokesman said Iran oil executives favoured a project of a smaller size than a development favoured by BHP.

"They have decided to go with a smaller version which Petro Iran will now do rather than the slightly larger more costly development that we were proposing," the spokesman said.

"We would have seen that the larger project would have given good value to our business and our shareholders."

The BHP Billiton proposal was estimated to cost close to US$1 billion compared to the smaller version estimated at around US$585 million.

The company has not ruled out a role in a smaller project and is expected to make a decision in the next few months.

"We remain in discussion and there is no decision at the moment on how or if we would move forward. It is very much in the dialogue stage to see where we can move to," the spokesman said.

BHP Billiton is looking at a range of petroleum opportunities across the Middle East and North Africa and already has a stake in a project under development in Algeria.

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