Iran’s plans to open up its oil and gas sector to IOCs are edging forward. Finalization of the contract with Total & CNPC to develop South Pars Phase 11 looks to be close, but the country’s first upstream tender is being pushed back.

Iran aims to sign contracts worth around $15bn with IOCs during the current Iranian year (ending March 2018) according to NIOC managing director Ali Kardor. The Phase 11 heads of agreement (HoA) signed in November was provisionally worth $4.8bn,...