DUBAI: Iran’s Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has told the oil and finance ministries to start using the approved new draft for the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) for oil and gas deals, the Oil Ministry’s news agency Shana reported on Monday.

The launch of the IPC has been postponed several times as hardline rivals of President Hassan Rouhani resisted any deal that could end the so-called buy-back system under which foreign firms were banned from owning stakes in Iranian companies.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh attended a parliamentary session on Sunday to answer criticisms of the IPC. He said last week the IPC would need minor amendments but that implementation of its final draft would not need the approval of parliament.

Shana published the general terms and conditions of the IPC, specifying that the new contracts are divided into three main categories: exploration, development of discovered fields that would lead to production, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to increase output.

The Oil Ministry is allowed to sign contracts up to 20 years from the start of development. This period can be extended for five years if EOR techniques are applied on a field.

A contract’s fees will be paid in cash or as a share of output.

Only Iranian exploration and production companies whose credibility has been approved by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) can partner with foreign oil companies.

NIOC is allowed to sign buy-back contracts for the development of discovered but undeveloped fields, after receiving case-by-case approval from the oil minister.

According to the IPC, the second party would bear all costs and risks of exploration and production. The government, the Central Bank of Iran or any of the state banks will not guarantee any of the commitments in the contract.