Possibility of Petrochem Tie-Up With Japan Firms

Possibility of Petrochem Tie-Up With Japan FirmsPossibility of Petrochem Tie-Up With Japan Firms

There is a possibility of collaboration with Japanese companies such as Inpex in upstream sector, oil trade, petrochemical investment, refining and technology development, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with visiting Japanese economic delegation headed by Daishiro Yamagiwa, Japan's state minister of economy, trade and industry, Zanganeh added, "Fruitful negotiations were held with Japanese officials about expanding economic relations and commencing new business activities," IRNA reported.

Responding to a question on Japan returning to West Karoun oil projects, Zanganeh said, "No agreement has been concluded. However, we have expressed our willingness to cooperate with Inpex and other Japanese companies."

Underlining Japan's long history of investment in Iran, especially in Asalouyeh's development phases, the minister said there are unique opportunities for Japanese to invest in liquefied natural gas projects.

Japanese firms used to be actively involved in petrochemical and upstream projects in Iran and they have completed some projects. Nonetheless, the US-imposed sanctions brought the cooperation to a halt.

The country has been a loyal customer of Iranian oil and continued to purchase oil from Iran even during sanctions.

As Japan's largest oil and gas exploration and production company with a worldwide presence, Inpex undertakes proactive exploration, development and production activities to ensure a stable and efficient supply of energy.

Regarding American companies' presence in Iran, Zanganeh said, "The US government has not paved the way for its oil firms to finance or develop Iran's oil projects."

According to the official, all international companies can compete to undertake and fund oil projects in Iran. Furthermore, European companies have no priority over Asian enterprises.

Inpex lowered its stake in the $2 billion Azadegan Oilfield project to 10% from 75% in 2006, ceding its role as operator to NIOC amid tension between the US and Iran over the country's peaceful nuclear program.

After Japan tightened its sanctions against Iran on September 2010, it decided to exit from Azadegan Oilfield.

Some media reports at the time said the Japanese government had responded to US pressure by convincing Inpex to reduce its role in Iran. Development work at the field has not progressed since then.

The nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the world powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany) in Vienna on July 14 paved the way for foreign companies to restore their activities in Iran.