Schlumberger (SLB) , the world's largest oilfield services company, has signed a preliminary deal to study an Iranian oil field.
The Houston-based company, which has a market cap of $113.1 billion, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-run National Iranian Oil Company "for the non-disclosure of data required for a technical evaluation of a field development prospect," a Schlumberger spokesperson told TheStreet.
Under the terms of the agreement, Schlumberger can study Rag Sefid, Parsi and Shadegan fields, the Iranian Oil Ministry new website SHANA reported citing the Managing Director of National Iranian South Oil Company Bijan Alipour.
"I am optimistic with future cooperation between the two companies," Alipour said. He added that Schlumberger has a long history with the company, dating back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, providing the national Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) with technical services.
The company said via email that the deal does not involve the execution of oilfield services and Schlumberger will comply with the laws and regulations of the countries where it operates.
Scott Berman, senior analyst for Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio -- which holds Schlumberger -- believes the deal will have no impact on short-term trading, but says management approached the deal in a "smart way." Iran has a "massive customer market," he says, "one that is largely untapped."
However, the deal comes as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has been highly critical of the nuclear deal with Iran, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence promising that a Trump administration would "rip up the Iran deal" in early October.
Berman noted that the deal for monitoring and research, and not execution of any services, which allows Schlumberger to "have one foot in, and one foot out the door," if relations between the countries becomes pressured.
Although there is uncertainty surrounding the United States' position on the Iranian nuclear deal, other companies are pursuing opportunities in Iran, which is also a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Norwegian oil and gas company DNO has signed a deal to study an Iranian oil field near the Iraqi border, in addition to France's Total (TOT) .
Shares of SLB closed down slightly on Monday.
This story has been updated to include comments from Action Alerts PLUS senior analyst Scott Berman.