Iran Technology Center in Talks With Oil Giants

Iran Technology Center in Talks With Oil GiantsIran Technology Center in Talks With Oil Giants

Transfer of technology is a prerequisite of the new Iran Petroleum Contracts and a priority in negotiations with foreign academia related to energy projects, the National Iranian Oil Company’s head of research and technology department said Saturday.

“Iran's former contractual models, namely the buyback contracts, did not focus on transfer of knowhow,” Ebrahim Taleqani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Buyback contracts, which have been used to develop Iran's oil and gas industry for more than 20 years, are essentially service contracts in which contractors are paid through the sales of a part of the output from the same field they develop.

The buyback model has been revised three times since it was first introduced in 1994, but it is said to be rather unpopular with international oil companies due to their inflexible terms and conditions and limited returns.

Taleqani added that some of the new oil contracts concentrate mainly on transfer of technology.

On the possible agreements concerning technology transfer, he said NIOC has not reached any agreement or memorandum of understanding directly with foreign companies or institutions. The NIOC has called on domestic universities to employ international experience and modern technology in carrying out feasibility studies of Iranian oilfields.

Following an agreement between the NIOC and oil/gas academic centers, the latter have been assigned to carry out studies on some oilfields.

Iran has been working on a new model of contracts to attract foreign investment and technology in its key oil and gas sector. It unveiled some details of IPC in a conference last year, including more balanced risks and rewards in exploration projects.

The country expects to sign the first deals under the IPC framework in three months.

  Coop. With US Possible

 “Iran will cooperate with any company capable of fulfilling their promises, whether they are from Asia, Europe or the US,” Taleqani said. He stressed that NIOC’s priority in talks with foreign companies is their technological and technical clout.

“We do not have restrictions on energy cooperation with American universities. However, US academic organizations have not held any talks with Iran,” the official said.

According to Taleqani, some executives from American firms have started talks with Iran that have not come to fruition yet. He did not name names.

“For any agreement to be finalized, companies, instead of individuals, should reach a conclusion,” he said.

Mohammadreza Moqaddam, deputy oil minister for research and technology, earlier said Iran employs ineffective extraction methods, which explain the low rate of oil and gas extraction in the fields.

“To boost production we should resort to advanced enhanced oil recovery techniques,” Moqaddam added.

Underlining the significance of technology transfer in bilateral cooperation with foreign sides, he stressed that no country will hand over its strategic markets to foreign firms unless they provide local firms with advanced technology.