The Iranian energy sector may pose an investment window of tens of billions of U.S. dollars for companies if the Western sanctions are lifted, the Islamic republic’s ambassador to Turkey has told Anadolu Agency.
“We may currently offer companies $30 billion investment opportunities,” said Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Ali Rıza Bigdeli in a recent interview.
Turkey has been a long-term customer of Iranian energy exports, the ambassador said, urging a broader and more sustainable ground for cooperation. Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian natural gas a year, makingIran the second largest gas supplier for Turkey, after Russia.
Trade between the two totaled around $14 billion in 2014, way below the $22 billion in 2012.
“Our Turkish friends are awaiting the outcome of the arbitration and after that we will be able to start negotiations on our new cooperation,” Bigdeli said, while commenting on the renewal of the gas deal between the two countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly complained about the high price of the gas Turkey imports from its neighbor during a Tehran joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on April 7.
“At the moment, we buy the most expensive gas from Iran,” Erdoğan said. “We do not want to be at this point. We should bring this down to a more suitable level.”
Iran and major powers held a second day of talks on April 23 seeking to finalize a historic deal that would make any attempt by Tehran to build a nuclear weapon extremely difficult and easily detectable.
Meeting in Vienna, Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany wanted to turn a framework accord reached in Switzerland on April 2 into a full agreement by June 30.
The exact details of how this will work in practice, and in particular the scale and timeframe under which the powers will lift painful sanctions, still needed to be nailed down, and experts have warned it will be a difficult process.
Commenting on a possible plan to carry Iranian gas to Europe, a similar idea to the ongoing Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) Project starting from Azerbaijan, the ambassador said the efforts for such an infrastructure were on the run. However, he highlighted that uncertainties remained with the absence of a nuclear deal with Western countries.
Iran is willing to act as a transit country to carry Turkmenistan gas to Turkey, he added.
Some 3,000 Iranian companies have representative offices in Turkey, as Turkish companies have invested $1.2 billion in Iran, according to the envoy.
There are 160 Turkish stores in Iran, as his people loves Turkish goods, he said.