Iran, China to Boost Research, Energy Ties

Iran, China to Boost Research, Energy TiesIran, China to Boost Research, Energy Ties

Promoting oil and gas condensate exports to China, participation of Chinese firms in Iranian oil and gas projects, and expanding collaborative research were the cornerstone of negotiations between Iranian and Chinese energy officials in Beijing, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said at the end of his visit to China, ISNA reported.

In his first visit to China since taking office in mid-2013, Zanganeh had meetings with general manager of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and the Director of China’s National Energy Administration Nur Bekri.

According to Zanganeh, the Chinese oil and gas giants will continue operations in Iranian fields under “better understanding.” The state-owned CNPC is to complete the development of Phase 1 of Yadavaran oilfield in Khuzestan Province within the next 3-4 months. In addition, Sinopec is to accelerate the development of Yadavaran field. According to agreements, the Chinese are also required to not only use more advanced equipment but also increase their workforce.

CNPC and Sinopec sealed billion-dollar deals in the era of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to develop oil and gas fields in southern Iran, including Azadegan oilfield near the Iraqi border besides Yadavaran in Khuzestan Province. However, the oil ministry formally revoked their contracts last year due to the Chinese firms’ five-year delay in fulfilling their commitments.

Zanganeh also said the energy officials are eager to expand ties and cooperate in the energy sector once the sanctions are lifted. He underlined China as the biggest buyer of Iranian crude at the time of oil and trade restrictions, reiterating Tehran wants to maintain partnership with Beijing after sanctions.

After eight days of marathon talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany) reached a framework agreement on April 2 that calls for lifting all trade sanctions against Iran. The details of the agreement are to be finalized by a June 30 deadline.

Iran’s oil exports have been cut by more than half to around 1.1 million barrels per day from a pre-sanctions level of 2.5 million bpd. It hopes to boost oil exports by one million bpd in just two months once sanctions are lifted.

The country holds the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves. Total oil reserves are estimated at 150 billion barrels.