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Swedes Discuss Role in Developing Energy Sector

Swedish officials discussed plans to manufacture gas-powered buses as part of plans to replace Iran's aging and polluting fleet of heavy vehicles that should have been sent to the junkyard long back
Upgrading the national power grid is among the top areas for cooperation.Upgrading the national power grid is among the top areas for cooperation.

Swedish officials discussed the prospects for collaboration in the power and energy sectors in Tehran at the weekend.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Tehran welcomes cooperation with Swedish companies in projects to curtail energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are willing to collaborate with Swedish companies on energy efficiency programs," Zanganeh said after meeting with a visiting Swedish economic and trade delegation on Saturday, Shana, the Oil Ministry's official news agency reported.

The Swedish mission, which arrived in Tehran on Saturday, is headed by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and includes entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials.

According to Zanganeh, Swedish officials discussed plans to manufacture gas-powered buses as part of plans to replace Iran's aging and polluting fleet of heavy vehicles that should have been sent to the junkyard long back. 

The two sides signed five agreements for cooperation in a variety of areas in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and Lofven on Saturday.

Sweden is a European powerhouse in the automotive industry. It is home to Volvo AB and Scania AB, two of the world's top truck manufacturers. Data show that around 95% of the heavy vehicles and 85% of the passenger cars produced in Sweden are sold outside of the country.

"We are keen on plans to reduce gas flaring and increase the efficiency of oil and gas infrastructure and will support such initiatives," the minister said without elaboration.

Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. According to one report, Iran burns off around $1.7 million worth of natural gas every day in the giant South Pars Gas Field that it shares with Qatar.

The government is also taking measures to recondition some of the country's decades-old oil refineries that produce high volumes of fuel products with little or no value added.

   Technology Transfer

In a meeting with Ann Linde, Sweden's minister for EU affairs and trade, Iran's energy minister said the country is interested in Sweden's expertise in the water and power sector, expressing confidence that two-way trade will improve in the near future.

"Swedish companies should not merely focus on exports. Iran is a huge energy market and a prerequisite for the Swedes to play an effective role  is investment and financing," Hamid Chitchian was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Upgrading the national power grid, constructing incineration plants and developing renewable energy infrastructure are among the top areas for cooperation between the two countries, Chitchian said.

Following the lifting of sanctions last year, ABB Group, a powerful Swedish-Swiss conglomerate operating in power and automation sectors, voiced interest in helping Iran upgrade its aging electricity network into a far-reaching smart power grid.

Linde said the Scandinavian nation has planned to meet all of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2040. Sweden has steadily increased its output of wind power and as it becomes more cost-efficient, wind energy is set to replace nuclear energy in the energy mix.

Iran was among the 195 nations that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to move away from fossil fuels with a goal of limiting a rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius. 

The country has pledged to produce at least 7,500 MW from renewable sources by 2030 as part of efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

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