Iran has issued a list of 29 companies from Europe and Asia that have the government's approval to bid for oil- and gas-development projects in the energy-rich country.
The Iranian Oil Ministry said on January 3 that the National Iranian Oil Company will soon hold tenders for energy exploration and production, something made possible due to Tehran's signing of a nuclear deal with six world powers in 2015.
The historic deal lifted economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran curbing its controversial nuclear program.
European companies that were approved by the Oil Ministry include Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, Italy's Eni, France's Total, Russia's Gazprom and LUKoil, and the Dutch company Schlumberger.
Asian companies on the list were China's CNPC and Sinopec International, the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation and Japan Petroleum Exploration, Malaysia's Petronas, and South Korea's Korea Gas Corporation and Posco Daewoo.
Several preliminary agreements between Iranian and international companies have been signed.
Total signed a tentative agreement with Tehran in November for a $4.8 billion project to develop an offshore gas field at South Pars.
And in mid-December, Tehran signed a memorandum of understanding with Gazprom on the development of two major oil fields.