The Indian government said that a consortium headed by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Iran aim to strike a deal by March to develop the Iranian Farzad-B gas field in the Farsi offshore block with estimated in-place reserves of 18.75tcf, Reuters reported.

The consortium, which also includes Oil India and Indian Oil Corp, could not obtain permission to develop the field due to Western sanctions against Iran’s nuclear programme, but those sanctions were removed earlier 2017. Therefore, OVL is preparing a master plan for development of Farzad-B, while also working on a pricing formula, informed Tasnim News Agency.

Indian companies have been in talks with Tehran since 2009 for developing the gas field. Given that India is the second largest buyer of Iranian oil after China, New Delhi is seeking ways to deepen trade ties with Tehran now that sanctions have been lifted. In mid August, Egypt Oil&Gas reported that the two countries were expected to finalize financial and investment models on the expansion of Farzad-B joint gas field with Saudi Arabia. The agreement was scheduled to be negotiated and signed in Tehran.

With 137.6b barrels of proven reserves, Iran has the world’s fourth largest crude deposits. In terms of gas reserves, it is second only to Russia, with reserves estimated at over 33tcm.