Seven countries seek to invest in Iran’s oil-rich Assalouyeh despite sanctions
Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr. 16/ Trend F.Milad/
Despite EU and U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil industry, companies from four European countries, two Asian countries and one American country have put in their requests to invest in Iran's oil-rich Assalouyeh region, Moj news agency reported.
According to the report, a number of companies from Austria, Belgium, Norway, Canada, Russia, China and South Korea have called for investing in Iran's oil projects in Assalouyeh.
On January 23, EU foreign ministers approved sanctions against Tehran, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) within the bloc's states and a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
The EU sanctions are meant to coerce Iran into abandoning its nuclear energy program and based on allegations that Tehran's civilian energy program may be a cover for acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The government should increase the budgets for the development of joint oilfields, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said in August 2011. The oil industry's infrastructure needs more than 500 trillion rials (about $41 billion) of investment to achieve objectives of the 20-Year Outlook Plan, which ends in 2025, Qasemi was quoted as saying.
Iran has attached the priority on boosting gas production capacity from its joint oilfields with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Qasemi noted.
Iran sits on the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia and is trying to grow its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in its South Pars gas field.
The field is shared by Iran and Qatar. The Iranian share, which is divided into 29 phases, has about 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, or about eight percent of the total world reserves, and more than 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas resources.