News ID: 115047
Published: 0719 GMT April 07, 2015

Iranian, Chinese officials to hold oil talks

Iranian, Chinese officials to hold oil talks

An Iranian delegation headed by Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will head to Beijing today for talks with Chinese officials on boosting oil exports and joint investments.

The trip comes on the heels of the nuclear framework reached by Iran and P5+1 in Lausanne, Switzerland last Thursday, Shana reported.

Deputy Oil Minister Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia, Mohsen Qamsari, a director of the National Iranian Oil Company and a number of senior NIOC directors will accompany Zanganeh on the trip.

China is Iran's biggest trade partner and oil customer. In 2012, following the intensification of Western sanctions against Tehran, China accounted for almost 50 percent of the country's oil exports.

Commenting on the visit, Zamani-Nia said the talks will focus on oil and gas projects.

He added that during the visit, National Iranian Oil Company officials will meet major Chinese importers of Iran's oil including China International United Petroleum and Chemicals Company (Unipec), Sinopec and Zhuhai Zhenrong which began oil imports from Iran in the 1990s.

On April 2, Iran and P5+1 announced they had reached a preliminary nuclear agreement which once implemented would do away with all Western sanctions imposed on Tehran enabling the country to boost oil and gas export capacity.

Iran is the world's fifth biggest oil producer and is making efforts to increase its oil export capacity by 1 million barrels per day in only two months after the removal of the sanctions.

Referring to oil export talks to be held in China, Qamsari said primarily the decision on whether to increase oil imports rests with China.

According to figures released by the Chinese Customs Office, in 2014, Iran was China's sixth biggest oil supplier after countries such as Saudi Arabia and Angola.

In the same year, Iran's oil exports to China amounted to 27.46 million tons (550,000 barrels per day), indicating a 28-percent growth compared to the figure for 2013 which was 21.45 million tons.

As stipulated in the new gas condensate export deal signed recently between the NIOC and Zhuhai Zhenrong, China is to import 600,000 barrels of oil from Iran in 2015.

Chinese energy companies have made the highest amounts of investments in Iranian oil industry projects.

Commenting Iran's frozen assets currently with the Chinese Bank of Kunlun, Zamani-Nia noted the country's financial problems can only be solved with the elimination of the Western sanctions.

"China is implementing a number of huge projects in Iran. We also plan to focus on these plans during our visit to the country."

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