News ID: 128122
Published: 0739 GMT October 02, 2015

Iran invites foreign firms to develop oil, gas industry

Iran invites foreign firms to develop oil, gas industry

Iran is inviting foreign investors to actively develop its energy industry after the sanctions are expected to ease in 2016 as per nuclear deal between Iran and six global powers, Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi told Reuters on Thursday.

"We welcome all oil companies, including the Americans, which meet Islamic Republic's requirements to invest in Iran. We welcome competition among foreign oil companies," Javadi said in a telephone interview from Tehran.

Business delegations from around the world have rushed to Iran after the July-14 deal, in which Tehran agreed to modify its nuclear program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions.

Major Western oil companies started withdrawing from OPEC member Iran after the United States and European Union imposed sanctions on the country in 2012.

Javadi said Iran placed no limitations on Western companies, including those from the US, investing in its oil and gas sector. He said Iran needed foreign know-how and technology to help develop its oilfields and improve pipeline and refinery infrastructure.

"Our policy is that all foreign companies can bring investment, technology and advanced management skills to develop our oil industry. Iran's market will not be monopolized by a few companies," he stressed.

"Iran has never banned American companies from working in Iran. It was their government's imposed unjust limitations that took this chance away from them."

The sanctions have halved Iran's oil exports to around 1.1 million bpd from a pre-2012 level of 2.5 million bpd. The loss of oil income has hampered investment in new development and the country has struggled to pay for the equipment and services needed to maintain smooth production.


Conference to present projects


Javadi said Iran would hold an international oil and gas strategy conference in Tehran from Oct. 19-21.

"During the conference... one of our goals is to introduce the potentials of Iranian private sector and connect them to foreign partners so they can cooperate in upcoming oil and energy projects," he said.

"Many projects will be presented in this conference."

In November, Iran plans to announce its new oil contracts in Tehran, which it says would be a major improvement not only on the so-called buy-back contracts but also on the contracts rival and neighbor Iraq offered to oil majors during 2000s.

Since the deal was reached in July 14, Iran has repeatedly announced plans to boost oil production and exports when sanctions are lifted to reclaim its position as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer.

Iran has said details of the new contracts would be presented to foreign investors in London in February.

Some oil majors have said they would return to Iran if it made big improvements to the buyback contracts, which some foreign companies complain made them no money or even incurred losses.

"Our priority is developing the joint oil fields with neighboring countries," Javadi said.

He said the rights of foreign investors are protected under the Iranian investment law. "We have good laws, whose proper implementation will safeguard the rights of foreign investors," Javadi added.

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