No limit for US firms to invest in Iran’s oil industry

Business Materials 17 May 2015 13:57 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 17

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

There is no limitation for US companies to invest in Iran's oil industry, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, the Islamic Republic's deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs said.

There is no problem on the issue from the viewpoint of Iranian government, the official added.

In recent months, several US companies have expressed readiness to invest and participate in oil industry projects in Iran once the sanctions are lifted, Zamaninia said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported May 17.

Most of the mentioned US companies have offered investment with the partnership of other companies, not direct investment, he explained.

Zamaninia further said that the benchmarks for the US companies' participation and investment in the country's oil and gas industry are the same which is set for the Iranian private sector.

This is while Abbas Sheri Moqaddam, who is also an Iranian deputy oil minister, earlier said that the US companies have not directly put in requests for investment in Iran's oil industry, but via their European partners.

"We asked the European companies how did you embarked on negotiating with us while you have US partners? They replied us that the US partners consented to negotiate," Sheri Moqaddam said in April.

Early in May, Iranian media outlets reported that a US oil delegation is scheduled to visit Iran to study investment opportunities in the country's oil industry.

Alongside studying investment opportunities, the US delegation will survey partnership with Iranian companies involved in oil industry.

No report was published yet that whether the visit was paid or not.

Earlier Mansour Moazzami, Iran's deputy oil minister said that Tehran needs about $30 billion per year to maintain its oil output and for development of oil projects, said. Decline in investments has lead to delay and halt in the development projects in the oil industry, Moazzami added.

Some experts believe the ongoing trend of oil price fall will force Iranian administration to halt its oil and gas projects.

By holding 157 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserve, Iran possesses the world's fourth largest crude oil reserve.

Iran's crude oil export was above 2.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2011, but the western sanctions imposed in mid-2012 have pushed Iranian oil export volume to around one mb/d in 2013.

After achieving an interim nuclear agreement in November 2013, Iran's oil export increased steadily to around 1.11 mb/d, however, the volume reportedly decreased slightly during recent months again.


Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh