Gazprom Mission in Tehran

Gazprom Mission  in TehranGazprom Mission  in Tehran

Officials of the National Iranian Gas Company and Russia's Gazprom met in Tehran on Wednesday in the first of a series of meetings to discuss grounds for cooperation in the post-sanctions period.

A 25-member delegation of Gazprom officials, headed by Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of Gazprom's management committee, met with NIGC officials in the capital.

Vitaly Markelov, member of the Gazprom board of directors, is also part of the Russian mission, Shana reported.

In a statement ahead of Wednesday's meeting, Azizollah Ramezani, director of international affairs at NIGC, said research and development, engineering, commercial and operational aspects of gas projects in Iran would be discussed with the Russian major, with gas storage projects expected to be the cornerstone of talks.

The meeting came less than a month after Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak's visit to Tehran, in which he envisaged a $40 billion bilateral trade target with Tehran.

In a one-on-one meeting with Deputy Oil Minister Hamidreza Araqi, Medvedev hoped the new round of talks will lead to a memorandum of understanding in early 2016.

Underlining Iran and Russia's possession of massive hydrocarbon resources, the Gazprom official said the political will of the leaders of the two countries is a building block for expansion of ties.

Gazprom was one of the marquee international companies at a much-anticipated conference in Tehran last month in which the Persian Gulf country unveiled 52 oil and natural gas development projects under a new contractual framework to woo investors to pour billions of dollars in Iran's post-sanctions energy sector.

"The new oil and gas contracts help Russia shape a new framework for cooperation," he said.

The two sides are expected to continue the talks in the coming months in Tehran and Moscow amid the increasing prospect of an end to trade and financial embargos that targeted Iran's nuclear program.

The Persian Gulf nation has opened doors to international investors after it reached an agreement with six world powers (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) in July to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Gazprom is a leading global company in geological exploration, production, transportation, storage and processing of natural gas, gas condensates and oil. It holds an estimated 17% of global gas reserves and 72% of Russia's reserves.

The company is also the only producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas in Russia.

The Russian giant was active in developing Iranian energy projects for a long time, including the development of South Pars phases. But it ceased operations in 2010 following oil and trade sanctions imposed on Tehran.

State news agency IRNA quoted a "high-ranking" Gazprom official as saying last month that cooperation with Iran would be "a win-win deal" for both sides. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.