Energy Coop. With Bavaria

Energy Coop. With BavariaEnergy Coop. With Bavaria

A high-ranking trade delegation of Germany's southeastern state of Bavaria explored areas for cooperation in Iran's post-sanctions energy sector in separate meetings with senior Iranian officials.

The 130-strong delegation–headed by the state’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Media, Energy and Technology Ilse Aigner—arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a five-day visit, Shana reported.

In a meeting with Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian late on Sunday, the two sides discussed cooperation in water and electricity industries.

"Multiple issues, including the construction of power plants and water treatment units as well as transfer of technology in water and electricity sectors, were discussed with the German delegation," Chitchian said, adding that the two sides are poised to sign agreements once banking embargos against the Islamic Republic are lifted.

The meeting was also an opportunity to work out the framework of partnership in regional power projects, Chitchian said, in what he described as a "mutually beneficial" understanding.

The sanctions cut off Iran from the international financial system and hampered trade and exports. Tehran and six world powers reached a historic deal on July 14 in Vienna, which would limit the country’s nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on its energy and financial industries.

The official referred to Europe's industrial powerhouse as a "traditional partner" and said representatives from some of the Germany's biggest companies comprised the Bavarian mission in Sunday's meeting.

Meanwhile, Aigner referred to the longstanding presence of German heavyweights such as Siemens in Iran and said German companies are looking for an "immediate return" to the Iranian market.

Bonding With Bavarians

Hot on the heels of a meeting with a top British delegation on Sunday, Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy for international affairs at the Oil Ministry, met with the German delegation.

The Bavarian minister reiterated Germany's willingness for turning the page in diplomatic and commercial relations with the Islamic Republic after the US-engineered sanctions are lifted.

"Laying the groundwork to expand cooperation between Iranian and Bavarian companies in the oil and gas sector … is our top priority," Aigner told reporters on Sunday.

In August, another Bavarian economic mission headed by Chief Executive Officer of Bavaria’s Business and Industries Association Bertram Brossardt traveled to Isfahan to assess trade opportunities in the central province.

The southern state of Bavaria is Germany’s biggest state, hosting many industries, including BMW, Audi and Siemens.

Talks With Britons

Zamaninia earlier hosted a British delegation of government and trade officials, headed by Francis Maude, the country's minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster-general.

The British envoys were briefed on the framework of Iran's revised oil contract, which will be unveiled in a conference later this month before a thorough presentation in London in February.

Michael Townshend, BP's head of Middle East operations, said on the sidelines of the meeting that BP is willing to help Iran develop its massive oil and gas reserves.

He referred to cooperation with the National Iranian Oil Company on developing the jointly-owned Rhum Gas Field in the North Sea and said there is a wide range of projects to which BP is ready to contribute its expertise and technology.

The British oil and gas major started negotiations with the Iranian government in September in a series of low-profile meetings, with BP executives refusing to give out the details of talks.

On Sunday, Maude said British firms are pitching for long-term investment in Iran, but the Iranian government needs to reassure them of a secure investment in the long run.

Tehran has hosted top trade delegations from Spain, Austria, Spain, France, Japan and South Korea, among others, in the past few weeks, preparing multibillion-dollar agreements in economic and energy sectors for the post-sanctions period.