Ministry Forecasts Leap in Iran Oil Industry in Two Years

Qatar and Iraq are extracting the lion’s share of joint oil and gas reserves and further procrastination and lack of consensus among policymakers will impose heavy financial losses
South Pars Gas Field’s offshore facilities in the Persian GulfSouth Pars Gas Field’s offshore facilities in the Persian Gulf

Iran's oil industry will experience a big leap in the next two years, as international energy majors have shown great enthusiasm in playing a role in the country's oil and gas ventures, the deputy oil minister for international affairs said.

"Attraction of foreign investment has turned out to be a serious competition in the world since not only financial resources are limited but there are also lots of calls for financing," Amirhossein Zamaninia was also quoted as saying by ISNA on Saturday.

According to Zamaninia, attracting foreign investment is contingent upon a wide range of factors, the most important of which is the political climate of countries.

"Compared to neighboring countries such as Iraq, Iran is safe and politically stable enough to attract foreign investment," he added, expressing hope that ongoing talks with multinationals yield positive results as they are approaching the final stretch to develop the country's massive hydrocarbon reserves.

"Another important issue is the model of contracts and winning the trust of global investors who need to be ensured of a safe investment in Iran in the long run," he said.

Pointing to the recently signed contract between NIOC and French energy giant Total S.A. to develop Phase 11 of the South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, the official said, "Should technical talks go well, the finalization of an agreement will not take long."

Stressing that Iran has the opportunity to clinch more deals with foreign firms, he said despite the country's century-old petroleum industry, Iran's hydrocarbon output is not in proportion to its reservoirs.

"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)," he said.

Asked about the Iranian National Oil Company's plan to conclude 10 agreements by March next year, he said that to save time, parallel negotiations are being held with international companies, including Russia's largest private oil company Lukoil, China National Petroleum Corporation and Indonesia's state-owned oil firm Pertamina.

"A large number of enterprises have already submitted their master development plans and NIOC's committees are studying technical, financial and legal terms," he said.

-- Russia's Partnership

The official noted that Russian firms are following the talks more seriously, that is why it is very likely that the next deal will be signed with a Russian energy major in two months.

Iran is currently in active negotiations with Russia’s gas giant Gazprom on a number of large-scale projects.

On the prolonged process of signing the first oil development contract with foreign firms, Zamaninia said domestic disagreements among different parties and stakeholders as well as putting personal interests before national concerns would further postpone the oil and gas deals.

"Our neighboring states such as Qatar and Iraq are extracting the lion's share of joint oil and gas reserves and further procrastination and lack of consensus among policymakers will impose heavy financial losses," he said, adding that internal conflicts could serve as a deterrent to Iran's key petroleum sector.


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