Tehran urges Moscow to use national currencies in energy deals

Business Materials 14 January 2010 14:23 (UTC +04:00)

Iran and Russia should switch to their national currencies in joint oil and gas projects, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrekar Shirazi said in Moscow on Wednesday as part of bilateral talks with Russian Deputy Energy Minister Sergei Kudryashov on a long-term plan of energy cooperation.

Heading a 20-member delegation, Shirazi attended a meeting of the Russian-Iranian working group on cooperation in the oil, gas and petrochemical spheres in Moscow, intended to map out a plan for both countries'' energy cooperation in the long run, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported.

"We want our national currencies to be used in our projects," the Iranian official said, adding this measure would facilitate the financing of large projects.

The move is also seen as an attempt to find an alternative to the U.S. dollar whose credibility has been weakened by the global economic crisis and reduce dependence on the greenback as the world''s major reserve currency.

Shirazi also said that Iran planned to double gas output in the next five years to one billion cubic meters a day, increase oil production by one million barrels per day to five million bbl/d, and build new oil refineries and petrochemical plants.

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Sergei Kudryashov said Iran and Russia, who together account for 18% of the world''s oil and 40% of global gas reserves, "are fated to cooperate in implementing large-scale projects."

Kudryashov said that major Russian energy companies Gazprom Neft, Gazprom, Sibur and energy engineering company Stroytransgaz were participating in the talks with Iran.

The two sides followed up previous agreements which were made by the Russian minister and his Iranian counterpart Masoud Mirkazemi in Tehran in November to establish a joint investment company to give rise to bilateral ties and facilitate the implementation of projects at regional and global levels, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported.

The two sides also agreed in the November meeting on the implementation of 15 new oil and gas projects, the construction of an oil refinery near the Caspian Sea, and gas swap as well.