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The Iranian legislature has ratified a new law which authorizes the National Iranian Oil Company to conclude contracts with Iranian and foreign companies in order to implement and execute exploration and exploitation plans in the Caspian oil and gas fields.

The Iranian Parliament recently submitted an emergency bill which calls for the reassignment of parliamentary deputies to oversee all oil buy-back contracts. The bill also suggests that parliamentary supervisors of buy-back deals should submit quarterly reports and copies of all contracts to the relevant authorities.

The project to export gas to Turkey hangs in the balance because of a dispute over a gas metering station on the Bazargan border. Turkey is delaying proceedings by insisting that all such devices at the border be rechecked before it begins taking gas deliveries. Iran is considering legal action over the delays.

Iran aims to conclude the first of a new wave of buy-back deals in its oil sector in October 2001. In contrast to expectations, the contract does not enjoy the same enhanced terms involving a risk-reward element based on production guarantees that are now being incorporated in other agreements.

The buy-back contract has been adopted as the most suitable model for financing oil projects in Iran, since it will attract foreign investment and technology while preserving national identity and ensuring that the government retains control over oil reserves.

The Council of Economy has approved and endorsed the implementation of a key infrastructure project, subject to certain terms which it has set out in a recent decree.