The Azar field declared commercial

June 13, 2006, 11:00 CEST

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on Sunday 11 June decided to declare the Azar field in the Anaran Block in the western part of Iran commercial.

The field was proven in summer 2005, and extensive testing and further analyses were promising. There is an estimated two billion barrels of oil in place, located in reservoirs of carbonate rock.

The commerciality agreement gives Hydro and Lukoil an exclusive right to negotiate a buy-back agreement with NIOC for the development of the field. Negotiations and preparations of a Master Development Plan are expected to take eight to 16 months. This will be the basis for a possible investment decision.

An exploration agreement for the Anaran Block was signed by NIOC and Hydro in 2000. In cooperation with the Iranians, Hydro has been in charge of extensive mapping and mine clearance of the exploration areas.

On the Azar field, a total of 1,040 kilometers of 2D seismic has been acquired, and wells have been drilled by the Iranian drilling company NIDC. Hydro has a 75 percent share and Lukoil Overseas a 25 percent share in the exploration contract.