It said that Russia’s Gazprom, Indian Oil Corporation and Chinese groups could be waiting to move in if British-Dutch group Shell and Spains Repsol pulled out.
The European firms are in talks with Iran over running part of the South Pars (bloc 14) field natural gas operation.
The Spanish business daily said Shell and Repsol have until the end of May to tell Iran whether they are ready to take part in the $10 billion (6.48 billion euro) project.
But they could face sanctions from the United States, which has already imposed sanctions on Iran, and the two European firms now want to walk away from the deal, said Expansion, which did not quote sources.
The U.S. government told Royal Dutch Shell and Repsol, which both have major interests in the United States, in January 2007 that their project in Iran would probably infringe U.S. law.
Shell and Repsol may sell their 50 percent interest in bloc 14. The rest of the shares are held by Iran’s state oil company NIOC. But they want to make sure that they can keep their interest in blocs 23 and 24, hoping that these can be developed when Iranian-U.S. tensions have eased.