“We are planning to hold tenders on eight exploration blocks soon. We are currently preparing the needed documents on these blocks,” Mahmoud Mohaddes, exploration chief at National Iranian Oil Company, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

According to Mohaddes, Iran will soon hold tenders for eight oil and gas blocks.

The fifth-largest crude oil exporter, Iran is seeking foreign capital and technology to develop its energy sector, although Western ties with the Islamic Republic are currently strained over a disputed nuclear program, Reuters noted.

Mohaddes also revealed that NIOC anticipates unlocking new reserves of up to 500 million barrels of oil and 5 Tcf of gas annually in a five-year development plan spanning 2010-2015, the report said.