Russia, Iran Explore Ways to Expand Energy Collaboration

Russia, the world's largest oil producer, has signaled that it is ready to expand its role in Iran's upstream petroleum market
Iranian and Russian officials during a joint energy committee session in Tehran, Dec. 12.Iranian and Russian officials during a joint energy committee session in Tehran, Dec. 12.

Tehran and Moscow on Monday explored ways to expand energy cooperation on the sidelines of the 13th sessions of Iran-Russia Economic Commission in Tehran.

The meeting was chaired by Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, and Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Kirill Molodtsov, Shana reported.

It was the first time the two nations discussed two-way energy relations in a joint committee dedicated to discussing energy issues.

Zamaninia underlined the huge potential for bilateral collaboration in the oil and gas sector, and said, "The meeting was a step toward closer energy ties. The ground is prepared to bolster effective collaboration between Iranian and Russian companies."

Molodtsov underlined the competence of Russian companies in oil and gas exploration/production projects, signaling that the world's largest oil producer is ready to expand its role in Iran's upstream petroleum market.

"Russian companies present at today's meeting produce 93% of the country's crude. Russia's high level of crude production points to its advanced knowhow in the oil industry," he said.

According to reports, Russia pumped 11.23 million barrels of oil per day last month.

Representatives of major Russian oil and gas companies including Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom and Zarubezhneft were part of the energy talks on Monday. Last month, Russian energy companies were briefed on some of the terms of Iran's new model of oil contracts, known as Iran Petroleum Contract, in a one-day presentation in Tehran.

A 300-strong Russian delegation, led by Energy Minister Alexander Novak, is on a three-day visit to Tehran to expand economic and commercial relations.

According to reports, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will meet Novak on Tuesday in their second meeting in less than a week after the two ministers met in Vienna on Saturday to thrash out the details of an OPEC-led initiative to curb global crude supplies and lift sagging prices.

  Swap Talks

Moscow and Tehran are also discussing oil swap deals, but the talks are still in preliminary stages, Molodtsov said.

“Only discussions so far, nothing specific,” Molodtsov was quoted as saying by Sputnik on Sunday.

Iranian officials said earlier that Tehran is ready to resume the swap of petroleum products with its northern neighbors after a six-year hiatus.

Swap deals came to an abrupt end in 2009 following a controversial decision by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt swap operations.

The move forced Iran to pay nearly $10 million in compensation and court costs for unilaterally halting the swap deals.

Following the lifting of international sanctions over the dispute on Tehran's nuclear program in January, Iran opened talks with Russian companies on petroleum swap deals.

Iran is reportedly interested in swapping a total of 150,000 barrels per day of crude with companies such as Lukoil, but the volume can rise to 500,000 barrels over time, according to Zamaninia.

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