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Shadow of Iran oil failure looms over Japan's Sakhalin decision

Pressure to leave Russia echoes Azadegan exit, which opened door for China

Exxon Mobil has announced it is exiting the Sakhalin 1 oil project. (Exxon Neftegas via Kyodo)

TOKYO -- Twelve years after leaving an oil field project in southwestern Iran under pressure from Washington, Japan finds itself in a familiar position, this time over an energy project in Russia's Far East.

With 26 billion barrels, Iran's Azadegan oil field had one of the world's largest reserves. The government-funded Japan Oil Development Co. (now INPEX) acquired a 75% stake in the project in 2004, eager to develop an oil field that Japan had strong control over. 

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