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Iran swapped more than 254 million barrels of oil over 13 years.
Iran swapped more than 254 million barrels of oil over 13 years.

Zanganeh Eying Improved Caspian Energy Activities

Oil swap can be an important source of revenue, as the northern neighbors with abundant hydrocarbon resources need access to the sea in the south

Zanganeh Eying Improved Caspian Energy Activities

Iran is looking to expand oil and gas trade in Caspian Sea and increase efforts to tap into the region’s massive hydrocarbon deposits after years of idleness in the Caspian energy market, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.
“Resuming oil swaps from the northern oil terminals needs more time and Caspian Sea littoral states should join hands with Iran to start the operation that ground to a halted in 2010,” Zanganeh said on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony for a natural gas pipeline stretching from the city of Damghan in Semnan Province to Neka in Mazandaran Province by the Caspian Sea.
“Iran is willing to start swapping oil and gas from Caspian Sea littoral states, yet Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan should equally take measures and cooperate with Iran in this regard,” he added.
According to the oil minister, oil swap can be an important source of revenue, as the northern neighbors with abundant hydrocarbon resources need access to the sea in the south.
Pointing to access to much-needed equipment and pipelines in the country, Zanganeh said the government of President Hassan Rouhani is pushing to resume swap operations with northern neighbors to make up for a six-year hiatus.
In 2010, former oil minister, Masoud Mirkazemi, said Iran had to stop buying crude under the name of swap deals in what he had described as “national treason”.
Reportedly, Iran swapped more than 254 million barrels of oil over 13 years and earned $880 million.

 Technological Constraints
Attaching great importance to tapping into the hydrocarbon reserves of Caspian Sea, one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world, Zanganeh said Iran is still deprived of cutting-edge know-how to conduct deepwater drilling, that is why reaching out to multinationals for financing and partnership as well as transferring exploration technology is a top priority.
He expressed optimism that domestic experts can help expand onshore fields in Golestan Province relying on their own technology.
Commenting on ongoing talks with international energy majors from Norway, Russia and China to develop oil and gas reserves in the region, he said, “Although talks to fund Caspian Sea oil and gas development projects have not come to fruition, meetings with multinationals will continue.”
Energy specialists believe that the ability of countries to export bigger volumes of Caspian crude oil and natural gas will depend on how quickly they can build additional export infrastructure and whether expensive projects to develop Caspian resources can attract sufficient investment.
Referring to the newly inaugurated pipeline, the oil minister noted that the fuel can help establish petrochemical industries in the region and create many jobs in small towns.
“Close to 9,000 villages have joined the national gas grid in the last three years,” he said, adding that the priorities of the Oil Ministry and National Iranian Gas Company are to develop infrastructure for supplying gas as feedstock to major industries and facilitate the production of goods with higher value added.
According to Zanganeh, nearly 98% of big cities as well as 90% of villages and small towns have access to the clean fossil fuel.

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