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Shell Signs MoU to Expedite Comeback

The MoU was signed after months of negotiations.The MoU was signed after months of negotiations.

Royal Dutch Shell has signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s National Petrochemical Company on expanding cooperation in the key petrochemical industry.

Marzieh Shahdaei, NPC managing director, and Hans Nijkamp, vice president of Shell's Upstream International, Middle East and North Africa department, signed the MoU in Tehran, paving the way for the return of the Anglo-Dutch firm to Iran, Shana reported.

The Dutch ambassador to Iran, Susanna Terstal, and Ben Fender, a deputy to the UK ambassador to Tehran, were present at the signing ceremony.  

"We believe that we can have joint projects in the petrochemical field with the NPC," Nijkamp said.

He added that the signing of the MoU came after months of negotiations between the two companies.

"We first need to see the areas where we think we can work together, and then work out what commercial structures we use, what technical solutions, and ultimately you will indeed end up with a sort of a joint venture agreement," Nijkamp noted.

"But it is too early to put any timeline on that. We are very pleased that Iran is coming back to be a part of the global community. But it is still a fragile situation," the official was quoted as saying by AFP. Foreign businesses have rushed to cash in on last year's historic accord between Iran and world powers that saw sanctions lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

  "A Very Positive Future"

Nijkamp acknowledged the difficulties for transferring funds, but said, "The fact that I am here today means that we do see a very positive future for Iran and also for Shell in Iran."

Shahdaei stressed that Iran plans to expand its petrochemical output capacity from the current 60 million tons a year to 160 million tons by 2025. Shell, which was forced by sanctions to cease trade with Iran in 2010, resumed purchases of Iranian oil in June.

According to shipping data, Shell took 130,000 tons of Iranian crude in July from the Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf to Europe under a spot contract.

Mohsen Qamsari, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, said in June that negotiations were held on a long-term oil contract with Shell.

In March, Royal Dutch Shell paid €1.77 billion ($2 billion) it owed the National Iranian Oil Company, settling debts after the sanctions removal in mid-January.

The outstanding debt to Iran was a result of Iranian oil deliveries that Shell had been unable to pay due to the international banking restrictions.

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