Slovakia Discusses Crude Imports, Energy Projects

Slovakia Discusses Crude Imports, Energy ProjectsSlovakia Discusses Crude Imports, Energy Projects

Tehran and Bratislava explored grounds for cooperation in the energy sector, including the prospect of Slovakia purchasing Iran’s crude oil in the near future.

“Slovakia is interested in Iranian oil. They can also cooperate in financing Iran’s liquefied natural gas projects,” Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for international affairs, said on Tuesday.

He made the statements on the sidelines of a meeting with Slovakia’s Economy Minister Vazil Hudak in Tehran on Tuesday.

Zamaninia referred to an international conference scheduled for May in which Iran’s oil and gas projects under its new contractual framework (Iran Petroleum Contracts) will be introduced to foreign companies. “The Central European country can participate in the confab that prioritizes development of joint fields and production increase over other issues,” he said.

Noting that Slovakia is also interested in receiving Iranian LNG, the Iranian official said, “In the following four to five years, Iran will be in a position to consider gas export to Europe.”

According to the deputy minister, Slovakia, which is a successful country in industrial fields, can help Iran raise its gas storage capacity. Slovakia has not until now imported oil and gas from Iran, as it imports energy from Russia. The country’s annual oil and gas demand stands at 30 million barrels and 6.4 billion cubic meters, respectively. Nuclear and renewable energies play a key role in meeting the country’s energy demand.

  $1.7b Investment in Refineries

Zamaninia also said Iran’s refineries need $1.7 billion in investment to modernize, a field that Slovak companies can participate in. The construction of Iran’s landmark Persian Gulf Star Refinery project started nine years ago in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, but the completion of the project was delayed due to a lack of financing.

The loss in profit amid startup delay is estimated at $3-4 billion. The refinery’s annual revenues would have amounted to $10 billion, had it become operational when oil prices were around $100 per barrel. But the refinery is now expected to engender $6-7 billion in revenues.

The refinery is expected to go on stream in 2017 with more than $3 billion in investment. According to reports, Iran’s crude refining capacity, including gas condensates, stands at 1.8 million barrels a day.  Iran plans to boost crude processing capacity to 3.2 million barrels a day by 2021.

  Nuclear, Solar Talks

The Slovak minister of economy also met Iran’s deputy energy minister and explored ways of cooperation in water, power, nuclear and renewable energies.

“Iran and Slovakia can establish a joint market and supply energy to the regional countries,” Sattar Mahmoudi was also quoted as saying by ISNA.

He referred to wind, solar and geothermal energies as well as water and wastewater, wastage reduction and metering systems as the fields the two countries can cooperate in.

“We are ready to redefine some water and power projects to prepare the ground for Slovakia’s investment and technology transfer,” Mahmoudi said. Hudak noted that his country, as a member of the European Union, can be a “good” partner for the Islamic Republic, which boasts a high rank in the region in terms of energy.

“As 55% of Slovakia’s electricity demand are generated by nuclear energy and it is building new reactors, our country is also interested in cooperating in this field with Iran,” he said.

The Slovakian minister said he was “impressed” with Iran’s potential in solar power and added that Slovakian companies are holding negotiations with their Iranian counterparts, especially regarding wind and solar energies.  

Hudak stressed that Slovakian private companies, which are supported by the government, intend to participate in Iran’s oil and gas projects to connect Iranian energy market to the global market.