Japan keen on Iran’s Azadegan, upstream projects: Official

TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (Shana) – The Japanese government is interested in upstream projects in Iran, including the Azadegan oil field, and intends to provide financial support for Japanese companies once commercial decisions for participating in the projects are made, a senior government official was quoted saying.

“With Iran holding one of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world, we recognize that upstream developments would be extremely [good opportunity] for Japanese companies,” Yuki Sadamitsu, director of the oil and gas division at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry told Platts.

“As the government, we are interested in upstream opportunities including Azadegan in Iran,” he added.

To a question about Japan’s potential interests for participating in Iran’s projects, the official replied that Tokyo has kept its options open for exploration, development and enhanced oil recovery projects, leaving it to the Japanese companies to make commercial decisions.

Iran is targeting an eventual 2 million b/d of new crude production capacity from the 50-plus upstream development projects it has planned to introduce to potential international investors under the modified contracts, the report said.

When asked to comment about the outlook for Japan’s crude imports from Iran in 2016, Sadamitsu replied: “It is possible they will increase.”
“Though it would depend how much Iran can offer on competitive terms,” said Sadamitsu, stressing that Japanese refiners and trading houses are extremely cost-cautious.

“If Iran offers good terms, there are plenty of chances for the increase as [companies] are more sensitive to price and quality,” Sadamitsu said.

Japan’s crude imports from Iran plummeted in recent years due to sanctions imposed in 2012. They averaged 170,360 b/d in 2015, compared with 313,480 b/d in 2011. On February 5, Japan signed a bilateral investment treaty with Iran, following its lifting of key oil, gas sanctions against Iran on January 22, Platts reported.