(Caspian Sea) - Iran's North Drilling Co. and the China Oilfield Services Ltd. signed an oil-exploration agreement for management, repair, and maintenance of theAlborz semi-floating platform, currently being constructed by the Iranian Offshore Industries Co. (Sadra).
A three-year contract with an estimated cost of $33 million will enable Iran, with China's help, to move its exploration activities to the deepwaters of the southern Caspian.
Iran had previously been limited to exploring fields up to depths of 90 m.
In November 2005, Sadra said that 97% of theAlborz platform had been completed and the rig would be ready for oil exploration operations in February 2006.
Tehran has not yet made public where exactly in the Caspian Sea it plans to use itsAlborz platform.
The rig's name indicates that the drilling might take place in a contested offshore oil and gas field in the southern Caspian, which Azerbaijan calls Alov, and Iran calls Alborz.