BASF in talks with Iran over oil investment

Press TV- Germany’s BASF, the country’s largest producer of chemicals, says it is in talks with Iran over possible investments in the Iranian oil industry. 

Kurt Bock, BASF’s chief executive officer, told reporters in a news conference that his company was examining business opportunities in the Islamic Republic after being courted by Iran’s oil officials.

“We are trying to assess whether it’s possible for our oil and gas business to gain a foothold in Iran. We have been invited by the national authorities. The evaluation process is ongoing,” Reuters quoted the official as saying.

Wintershall, a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF and the largest crude oil and natural gas producer in Germany, announced last year that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to study four onshore oil fields in western Iran.

On Monday, the NIOC chief Ali Kardor acknowledged that discussions were underway with Wintershall over four Iranian projects, stressing that a deal with the company could be reached in the near future.

There had also been reports that BASF was considering an investment of $12 billion in the Iranian petrochemical sector.

Bock, however, told reporters in Ludwigshafen that the giant chemical group was not planning to extend its Iran investment plans to downstream petrochemical processing plants.

The officials also emphasized that a final decision by BASF to proceed with an Iran investment plan would depend on the final status of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“We can’t see that the lifting of sanctions is being implemented at the speed that was initially expected,” Bock told reporters after the release of BASF’s 2016 earnings.