Russia Energy Minister Signs 4 Agreements

Russia Energy Minister Signs 4 AgreementsRussia Energy Minister Signs 4 Agreements

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak signed four economic and commercial agreements during the 11th Iran-Russia Joint Commission in Tehran on Tuesday.

Some 100 Russian delegates from 40 companies participated in the joint commission to address various economic and energy sector issues.

According to Novak, the meeting was productive and the economic cooperation of two countries is "based on a win-win situation."

"Iran-Russia relations are based on mutual interests and the two countries are willing to explore cooperation beyond trade opportunities."

"Russian companies are to build eight new power plants in Iran with a total capacity of 2800 megawatts with plans to restore four dilapidated plants," he said, stressing that the sanctions do not affect the relationship between the two sides.

Iran and Russia seek cooperation on nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. "The Bushehr power plant has joined Iran's power grid and we were excited to hear that Iran is looking to build 20 more units," he was quoted by ISNA as saying.

Iran and Russia have the potential to expand cooperation in the neighboring countries such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, he added.

The two sides signed an agreement last April to expand cooperation in the energy sector, including the establishment of power facilities and services as well as energy exchange. Iran and Russia continued their negotiations in August and signed a $10 billion agreement and an oil-for-goods barter, although officials of the two countries later ruled out the latter.

According to Novak, Russia is "interested in Iran's hydrocarbon resources," although two-way trade cooperation was limited in this sector due to the sanctions.

"Domestic regulations restrict foreign firms to operate in Iran based on a production sharing model."

The US imposed broad economic sanctions on Iran in the wake the country's claim for nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Iran is negotiating with G5+1 World Powers to strike a nuclear agreement.

Novak said he is unaware of any delays in the delivery of Russian projects in Iran. "There could have been some delays due to banking problems and other financial complications," he stated, adding that the two sides need to cooperate based on mutual trust.

According to Novak, Iran and Russia had made great strides to address the problem of money transfers before the sanctions, but the embargoes exacerbated the problem, which had a negative impact on the turnover of both states.

Deputy Director of the Asia and Africa Department of the Russian Economic Development Ministry, Nailya Chernikova said, "Not only are players in the economic sectors willing to explore new political grounds, but so are the presidents of the two nations."

Mutual banking problems were also discussed in the joint commission, she added, although the two sides have as yet to reach agreements. "Beside the joint commissions, banking officials of the two countries will also independently examine and address the banking issues."

The commission agreed Iran and Russia will continue to trade using the currencies of their two countries, Zanganeh stressed.

He insisted there is no need for OPEC to organize an emergency meeting following plunge of the oil price to a double-digit figure. "We cannot recommend prices to OPEC due to constraints, but other countries can propose recommended prices."

"The higher the oil prices the better," he said, regarding Iran's preferred price of oil.

The oil minister also said he is not aware of the reports on the merger between Iran's oil and energy ministries.

UVZ May Supply $1b Rolling Railway Stocks

Russia’s state-owned railway equipment and tank maker Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) may sign a contract to sell rolling railway stocks worth $1 billion per year to Iran, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said late Tuesday at a Russia-Iran business forum.

“Uralvagonzavod is demonstrating interest in supplying up to 5,000 units of modern rolling railway stocks per year worth $1 billion,” Novak said.

Earlier on Tuesday, an UVZ official said the company is discussing a joint venture to produce cargo railcars in Iran. The official did not elaborate.