Tehran in Final Stretch of Talks With Foreign Oil, Gas Majors

Tehran in Final Stretch of Talks With Foreign Oil, Gas MajorsTehran in Final Stretch of Talks With Foreign Oil, Gas Majors

Multinational oil companies are approaching the final stretch of negotiations to develop the country's massive hydrocarbon reserves, deputy oil minister for international affairs said.

"Talks are underway with 28 oil majors to expand 28 oil and gas fields and we look forward to finalizing the contracts in the current fiscal (ends in March 2018)," Amirhossein Zamaninia was quoted as saying by ISNA on Tuesday.

Pointing to the interest of foreign companies in playing a role in Iran's oil and gas ventures, Zamaninia noted that the state-run National Iranian Oil Company has made "significant progress" in negotiations with energy giants, including French company Total S.A., Russia's largest private oil company Lukoil, China National Petroleum Corporation and Indonesia's state-owned oil firm Pertamina.

"Some other foreign companies have also shown interest in investing in Iranian petroleum projects," he said, without providing details.

On the prolonged process of signing the first oil development contract with  foreign firms, Zamaninia said, "Technical teams are finished with preliminary assessments of the proposals presented by several companies and negotiations to finalize the agreements will begin soon."

According to Ali Kardor, chief executive officer of the NIOC, Lukoil, Pertamina, Japan's Inpex, Total S.A., Denmark's Maersk Group and CNPC are among the majors which have provided NIOC with the results of their technical studies.

---- Talks With Linde Group

According to Zamaninia, top executives of Germany's Linde Group have expressed willingness to invest in Iran's petrochemical projects. He added that "fruitful negotiations" have been held with the group's officials who visited Tehran for the Iran Petrochemical Forum (IPF) at the weekend.

"Linde executives point out that European banks are still cautious about doing business with Iran, but they do acknowledge that there are different ways to fund Iranian projects," Zamaninia said without elaboration.

Asked about Germany's potential interest in the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Asalouyeh, known as "Iran LNG", he said, "Linde delegates held talks with Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on the sidelines of the IPC and voiced their inclination to play an active role in Iran's joint ventures under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts as well as engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) deals.

Reportedly, "Iran LNG" made 60% progress with $1.85 billion investment before international sanctions were imposed at the beginning of the decade. Talks are underway to complete the project in two years at an estimated total cost of $4 billion.

The German group also held talks with with Marzieh Shahdaei, the National Petrochemical Company's managing director, on financing the Damavand Petrochemical Plant, one of the largest petrochemical projects in Asalouyeh, as well as methanol production plants in the southern Bushehr Province.

Linde Group, founded in Germany in 1879, is a multinational industrial gas and engineering company. The group signed a contract worth $40 million with Kian Petrochemical Company last year to provide the firm with expertise and licenses to produce a range of petrochemical products with higher value-added, namely olefin, butadiene and benzene.

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