Crude Oil Prices and Opec
Iran is working hard to boost oil production as Western sanctions against it are expected to be lifted soon Reuters

Iran is looking to double its crude production, as the resource-rich country is set to auction off oil and gas projects to international companies after the Western sanctions are lifted.

At a December conference in London, the country will discuss its new oil contract models and 45 oil and gas projects including oil and gas exploration with international oil companies, Bloomberg reported, citing Mehdi Hosseini, chairman of Iran's oil contracts restructuring committee.

Iran hopes to boost crude production to 5.7 million barrels a day, according to Hosseini, from 2.85 million barrels a day in July.

Iran has the fourth biggest oil reserves in the world after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada. The reserves are estimated at 157.8 billion barrels by BP, enough to supply China for more than 40 years.

Oil producers such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell have expressed interest in developing Iran's reserves when sanctions against the gulf nation are removed. In July, Iran signed a nuclear agreement with world powers, paving the way for resuming its oil trade in full scale.

"We will define projects in the oil and gas sector as much as feasible and necessary since we believe this sector will bring wealth and economic development," Hosseini was quoted as saying.

"As far as this conference is concerned, we have defined around 45 projects which include exploratory blocs at varying development costs."

He noted that Iran may give companies two to three months to decide on their bids, adding that the exact length will be decided by the time of the conference.

The country will call for bids after the specific time period, according to Hosseini.

"We consulted with almost all medium and major oil companies over our contractual contents and projects. And the feedbacks have been positive," he said.

As the sanctions are lifted, Iran wants to increase oil production to about 15% of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) output, or more than 4 million barrels a day, he said.

"As OPEC's share increases so does our share and we will need to build capacity. As a preliminary goal in the short run we plan to produce 5 million barrels a day and then go from that to 5.7 million barrels a day."