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Japan’s Inpex Corp. has started intense negotiations with National Iranian Oil Co. to develop the Azadegan oil field in southwestern Iran and is a strong candidate for the contract, a high-ranking Iranian official has said.

Inpex signed a memorandum of understanding for the project last June, and the passing of a six-month study period means a final proposal is expected soon, said Noreddin Shahnazizadeh, managing director of Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Co.

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