Iran Names Partners for Foreign Energy Majors

Iran Names Partners for  Foreign Energy Majors
Iran Names Partners for  Foreign Energy Majors

Iran has confirmed the names of five Iranian companies that it has identified as partners for international energy majors seeking to invest in the Islamic Republic, taking it a step closer to opening up its oil and gas fields to foreign investment.

Gholamreza Manouchehri, the deputy head of National Iranian Oil Company, told Financial Times that the companies already selected included government-backed Petroiran, Petropars and MAPNA Group. But he said that a complete list was still being finalized.

The names of companies have been eagerly awaited by western energy companies such as BP, Total and Eni, as they hope to gain access to the OPEC member’s oil and gas reserves after years of sanctions.

Many sanctions were lifted in January after Tehran reached a deal last year with world powers to temporarily scale back its nuclear program.

Iran, which sits on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and largest gas reserves, has since been attracting investors but has delayed announcing the terms of its contracts.

It has roughly doubled oil exports to more than 2 million barrels a day since January, and is seeking to attract around $200 billion in foreign direct investment to boost production by at least 600,000 barrels a day within five years.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Iran’s oil minister, said on Sunday that Iran, once the second largest OPEC producer, expected to sign a first post-sanctions oil contract with a foreign company within three months.

But US energy majors, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, face an additional wait as Washington maintains sanctions prohibiting US entities dealing with Iranian companies, with a few special cases such as airlines, despite the nuclear accord.

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Of the energy companies selected, Petroiran is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company and is tasked with onshore and offshore development.

Petropars, another state-linked entity, has signed a memorandum of understanding with a German company and has already held talks with western majors, according to Iranian media.

MAPNA is an Iranian power and infrastructure group. It signed an agreement with Siemens in March that will see the German company provide two gas turbines to a power plant in the southern port of Bandar Abbas.

Oil Industries Engineering and Construction group is a partly state-owned oil contractor, while Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran, known as IDRO, is a conglomerate active in Iran’s economy.

Manouchehri gave the list to FT in response to queries about names revealed in the Oil Ministry’s in-house news service. The list also included companies Danaenergy, Jahanpars and Petrogohar, which have yet to be confirmed by the ministry.