Electricity, Petrochem Opportunities Attractive

Electricity, Petrochem Opportunities AttractiveElectricity, Petrochem Opportunities Attractive

Iran’s attractive investment opportunities in the electricity and petrochemical sectors would provide “win-win deals” for Tehran and foreign investors in the wake of a historic deal on Iran’s nuclear program and the prospect of lifting the sanctions, a senior energy analyst said.

The analyst was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between the secretariat of the Supreme Council of Iran’s Free Trade, Industrial and Special Economic Zones and members of a high-ranking French delegation who arrived in Tehran earlier this week.

“Investment in the energy industry will certainly be profitable for foreigners,” Ali Shams Ardekani was quoted as saying by ILNA.

He said the country’s lucrative opportunities for investment over the next five years, including in the petrochemical and electricity industries, are particularly attractive for French companies because “they can avoid hefty French taxes and generate considerable profit in Iran”.

A delegation of French officials and business-owners, including representatives from 150 companies such as Total and Peugeot Citroen, arrived in Tehran on Monday to explore areas of bilateral cooperation.

Ardekani, also the head of the Energy Commission of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, called on Tehran and Paris to cooperate for achieving bilateral economic growth and capitalizing on comparative advantages of one another.

“Iran is a major producer of petrochemicals in the Middle East and French companies can give it value added,” he said.

Iran and six world powers reached a historic deal in Vienna on July 14, which would limit the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on its energy and financial industries.

  Power Exports Dilemma

Ardekani mentioned the power sector’s huge potential for growth and said, “Our apparently wealthy neighbors experienced many outages during the summer.”

He added that Iran and France can expand ties in electricity generation and exports. However, earlier this year, he slammed as “wrong, illegal and economically imprudent” for the government to undertake electricity exports.

“The government is exporting power to make up for past losses,” Ardekani said, in a reference to the controversial policies adopted by the former Iranian administration, such as using electricity revenues to fund the costly Subsidy Reform Plan.

Iran’s electricity industry ranks 14th in the world and first in the Middle East in terms of electricity generation with an installed power generation capacity of 74,000 MW.

Due to heavy energy subsidies, Iran is one of the most energy inefficient countries, with the energy intensity three times higher than global average and roughly 2.5 times the Middle Eastern average.

The country is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and exports electric power to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran under a swap agreement.

Talks of expanding electricity exports come as the country is struggling to finance the multibillion-dollar cost of reducing power wastage as well as a 3,500-megawatt power deficit in the previous year which, according to experts, is expected to last at least for three more years.

The average rate of power generation efficiency in power plants nationwide was 37% last year.