Iran says oil companies presenting proposals to invest in oil projects

Only two days after Iran and the P5+1 group of countries announced in the Swiss city of Lausanne that they had found solutions for a final comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear energy program, officials in Tehran say international companies have already voiced interest to take up projects in the country’s oil industry.    

Iran’s Deputy Petroleum Minister for International Affairs Hossein Zamani-Niya said on Saturday that the country’s Ministry of Petroleum has received investment proposals from “a certain number of companies as well as countries”.  He added that those proposals are currently being studied.

Over a week of talks between top diplomats of Iran and the P5+1 in Lausanne culminated in a joint statement in which the sides said they had reached understanding over solutions to move ahead toward drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement before 30 June.  A key point of Lausanne statement was a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran – including those on the country’s oil industry.

Zamani-Niya emphasized that the Ministry of Petroleum and its subsidiary companies are ready to intensify their activities as soon as the sanctions on Iran’s oil sector are removed.

He said Iran’s oil industry is eager to work in “a new international environment” adding that other countries appear to be already prepared to embrace the opportunity to cooperate with Iran.

Most of Iran’s oil-related sanctions have been imposed by the United States and the European Union. The most significant ones are those that prohibit any investment by foreign companies in Iran’s oil projects and also put a ceiling on Iran’s oil production.

Iran’s current oil production is estimated to be around 2.7 million barrels per day of which about 1 million barrels are exported – as required by the current regime of sanctions.

Zamani-Niya further emphasized that Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum wants to regain its lost production share in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) once the sanctions on the country’s oil industry are removed in light of an emerging final comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1.

“Once the [final] Iran-P5+1 nuclear agreement is finalized, Iran is prepared to regain its lost OPEC production share within a short period of time in cooperation with other members of the Organization,” he told Iran’s Shana news agency.

Zamani-Niya further emphasized that the priority for Iran will be to first increase its oil production at the earliest time possible.  “To achieve this, we will have to focus our efforts on sales, investment and technology,” he said.

Iran was once OPEC’s second top producer after heavyweight Saudi Arabia. However, the drop in its oil output – that the country blames on sanctions – has now put it well behind Iraq.

Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in mid-March that his team had serious plans to bring the country’s oil production to 3.8 million “within a few months after the removal of the sanctions”.

By Press TV