Shell, Total Entry Ruled Out

Shell, Total Entry Ruled OutShell, Total Entry Ruled Out

Officials said last week that oil and gas majors Total and the Royal Dutch Shell have been given the green light to build the first commercialized gas stations in Iran under their brand names, but the CEO of state-run National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company ruled out any negotiations with or approach by the duo to enter the energy retail market.

"Any domestic or foreign firm willing to build gas stations in Iran should first contact NIORDC, but no such proposal has been submitted yet," Seyyed Nasser Sajjadi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

In a separate statement, NIORDC spokesperson Davoud Arabali said the company is the only body in Iran responsible for gas station establishment.

He stressed that foreign companies may have negotiated and reached an agreement with other organizations, but they will ultimately require NIORDC approval to operate as energy retailers.

On Friday, the Iranian Syndicate of Gas Station Owners announced the French and Angl0-Dutch companies are shown the green light to build 200 gas stations in the capital Tehran and other cities.

Bijan Haj-Mohammadreza, the head of the syndicate, said the commercialization of gas stations via foreign brands is because "assets of companies such as Shell and Total are five times the assets of National Iranian Oil Company and the Oil Ministry."

The entry of Shell and Total will help commercialize the supply and distribution of petroleum products and reduce government monopoly in energy retail.

According to government officials, domestic gas station owners can establish a private joint-stock company to create their own brand.

In addition, the first Iranian brand was expected to be unveiled by early October.