January 18, 2017 1012 GMT
NIDC Managing Director Heidar Bahmani further said that talks are also underway with European companies in Iraq on joint collaboration in northern and southern areas of the neighboring country. He added that negotiations are also being held with Kuwait on joint projects in the Persian Gulf littoral state.
According to Mehr News Agency, the official pointed to the proper grounds for Iran's presence in the international market, commenting, "We were not able to transfer drilling equipment to neighboring countries during the sanction years while this issue has been fully resolved with the elimination of sanctions thus clearing the way for more our visible presence in Persian Gulf littoral states."
Touching upon the dialogue with Italian firms, NIDC managing director explained, "Currently, an agreement is being sealed with Italians based on which the European side will undertake the investment while NIDC will carry out the drilling activities."
He added, "Talks are also being held with Singaporean firms on implementing offshore projects with Singapore providing finance and Iran offering equipment and facilities."
He also referred to plans to supply drilling rigs in the coming year asserting, "Memoranda of understanding have been inked with Chinese firms to supply rigs.
"Since the Islamic Revolution, the number of drilling rigs in the country has risen from 6 to 75 while the figure will reach 80 in the year to March 2017," maintained Bahmani.
Stating that purchase of each offshore drilling rig involves at least $200 million, the official added, "We intend to increase the number of rigs with the participation of Iranian or foreign investors within the framework of lease-purchase contracts."