Oil/Gas Exploration Talks With Armenia

Oil/Gas Exploration Talks With ArmeniaOil/Gas Exploration Talks With Armenia

Iran agreed to cooperate with Armenia to conduct preliminary assessments for oil and gas exploration in Armenia during the 12th Iran-Armenia joint economic cooperation commission in Tehran, said a member of the commission.

"The two-day talks were constructive, creating potential for further economic cooperation between the two neighbors," Sadegh Mahsouli was quoted by ISNA as saying.

The oil ministry has agreed to train Armenian engineers, and offer assistance to explore and extract its oil and gas.

Iran and Armenia earlier hammered out an initial agreement on constructing of a joint hydroelectric power plant on Aras River, natural gas and electricity barter, and construction of an electricity transmission line.

During the meeting between Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and the Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yervand Zakharian on Monday the two sides agreed on increased gas exports from Iran to Armenia, provided that Iran would maintain a steady supply during winter.

Moreover, "Iran will import electricity from Armenia at the time of peak demand in exchange for gas," Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said Tuesday, adding that increase in the level of imports is contingent on the volume of gas exports to the northwestern neighbor.

Development of the Meghri Dam on the Aras River was also on the agenda. Meghri Dam, also known as the Aras Dam, is a hydroelectric dam under construction near Armenia's southern town of Meghri on the Iran-Armenia border. Construction started in 2012 and is expected to be completed by 2016. Chitchian said a special committee is established to supervise the progress.

Mahsouli added that a 107 million euro LC was opened by Armenia for construction of a new electricity grid.

Annual trade between Iran and Armenia amounts to around $300 million, with officials vowing to double the figure through private sector participation.

Syrian Call

Syria has called on Iranian companies to participate in its 2015 electricity tenders estimated at $19 billion, said deputy energy minister, Houshang Falahatian.

A meeting was held between Iran's energy minister and his Syrian counterpart, whereby Tehran agreed to help Syria overcome its electricity problems. Projects which were held back in Syria due to recent turbulence will speed up, Falahatian said.

In recent years Iran has helped Syria construct several power plants. Iran's private sector was also active in the Arab country's electricity sector.

Part of the negotiations focused on "problems that private Iranian electricity firms were facing" in Syria, Falahatian said.  "The Syrian side has promised to address the issues, and is willing for Iranian companies to participate in next year's tender to carry out overhaul and construction projects." He did not elaborate on that country.