Foreign Investors Welcome

Foreign Investors WelcomeForeign Investors Welcome

Iran is inviting foreign investors to actively develop its energy industry after sanctions are expected to ease in 2016, under a nuclear deal between Iran and six global powers, Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi said on Thursday.

"We welcome all oil companies, including the Americans, that meet Islamic Republic’s requirements to invest in Iran. We welcome competition among foreign oil companies," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Tehran. Iran placed no limitations on western companies, including US firms, investing in its oil and gas sector, the official said, adding that Iran needed foreign know-how to help develop its oilfields and improve pipeline and refinery infrastructure.

"Our policy is that all foreign companies can bring their investment, technology and advanced management skills to develop our oil industry. Iran’s market will not be monopolized by a few companies," he said.

"Iran has never banned American companies from working in Iran. It was their government's imposed unjust limitations that took this chance away from them."

Business delegations from around the globe have rushed to Iran after the July 14 deal in Vienna, in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an end to oil and trade sanctions. Major western oil companies started withdrawing from OPEC member Iran after the US and the European Union imposed sanctions on the country in 2012. Iran's oil exports have halved to around 1.1 million bpd from a pre-2012 level of 2.5 million bpd.

  IPC Confab

Javadi said Iran would hold an international oil and gas strategy conference in Tehran from Oct. 19-21 to unveil its long-awaited revised oil contracts, known as the Iran Petroleum Contract. “During the conference ... one of our goals is to introduce potentials of Iranian private sector and connect them to foreign partners so they can cooperate in upcoming oil and energy projects. Many projects will be presented in this conference,” he said.

Officials say the IPC will be a major improvement not only on the so-called buyback contracts but also on the contracts rival and neighbor Iraq offered to oil majors during 2000s. Since the deal was reached in July 14, Iran has repeatedly announced plans to boost oil production and exports when sanctions are lifted to reclaim its position as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer.

The details of the new contracts would be presented to foreign investors in London in February. Some oil majors have said they would return to Iran if it made big improvements to the buyback contracts, which some foreign companies complain made them no money or even incurred losses.

"Our priority is developing the joint oilfields with neighboring countries," Javadi said.

The deputy minister stressed that the rights of foreign investors are protected under the Iranian investment law.

"We have good laws which, due to its correct implementation, will protect the rights of foreign investors," Javadi said.