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June 2017, No. 84


Trade & Business

 

Top Iran Business & Energy News in First Quarter of 2017
 

Economy & Trade Section

Iran to Appeal Luxembourg Assets Seizure

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has strongly criticized a recent decision by a court in Luxembourg to seize $1.6 billion of the Islamic Republic’s assets, saying the verdict did not amount to the enforcement of a related ruling by a US court. In a statement, the CBI announced that it would use all means at its disposal to protest and appeal the decision by the Luxembourg court, adding that legal efforts would continue until the rights of the Iranian nation are restored (March 27).

Swedish Firm Finds Novel Way for Iran Business

A company in Sweden has come up with an innovative solution which both bypasses US sanctions and does away with the need for banks to process transactions with Iran. Brave New World Investments AB is reportedly accepting deposits in bitcoin which it converts to Iranian rial and invests in equities on the Tehran Stock Exchange (March 25).

Third New Airbus Arrives in Tehran

The third aircraft from a batch of 100 planes Iran has purchased from European aviation giant Airbus following the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries has landed in the Iranian capital of Tehran (March 25). 

Russia Devises Own SWIFT System

Russia says it has devised an alternative to a global electronic money transfer mechanism which the United States has shown it would readily use to disrupt overseas financial transactions of countries which it sanctions for political disputes (March 24).

New Zealand Delays Plan to Export Lambs to Iran

New Zealand says it has postponed a plan to export lamb to Iran – in what it says would be the first step to resume post-sanctions trade with the country – until December. A spokesman for Silver Fern Farms, one of two exporters working with import companies in Iran, was quoted by media as saying that the company was still in the very early process of making agreements over lamb exports to Iran (March 23).

Iran Diverting Water from Gulf of Oman Inwards

Iran says it is implementing a landmark project to divert water from the Gulf of Oman to its central plateau – a project that could not only address the country’s surging water crisis but could also help push ahead relevant economic plans in host regions (March 23).   

Korean, Turkish Firms to Build Power Plants in Iran

South Korea and Turkey have teamed up to develop a chain of power plants in Iran in what appears to be the first such partnership in the Middle East. The partnership was formed by virtue of an agreement that South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction (SK E&C) signed with Turkey’s energy giant UNIT International S.A. on Saturday (March 19).

Iran’s Carpet Exports to US at $80m

Iran says it has exported $80 million worth of carpets to the United States over a period of 11 months starting March 21, 2016 (March 19). 

Iran to Export 800,000 bpd of Oil to EU

Iran says it expects to increase exports of crude oil to Europe to as high as 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) within the next two months. The announcement was made by Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (March 19).

Traders Say Iran Business Returning to Normal

Serious signs have appeared showing that doing business with Iran may have already started to return to normal a year after the removal of sanctions that had complicated commerce with the country since 2011. Reuters in a report emphasized that the most significant sign to the same effect had emerged after Iran purchased 40,000 tons of rice from Thailand in an international tender this week (March 17). 

US Welcomes India’s Chabahar Port Plan

The United States has welcomed India’s plan to expand Iran’s Chabahar port as a project that a top military official says will help the long-term stability of Afghanistan. US Army General John Nicholson, who commands US combat operations in Afghanistan, told the US Senate in a hearing that he welcomed the Chabahar project because it would offer Afghanistan a viable and economic alternative to shipping all its goods via Pakistan (March 16).

Iran Trade with Russia Grew Largest in 2016

Iran’s trade with Russia saw the highest growth in 2016, says Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Sanaei as the two countries are gearing up for President Hassan Rouhani’s imminent visit to Moscow. “I believe this trend will be maintained in the next two or three years and bilateral trade volume will reach $10 billion,” Russia’s Rossiya Segodnya quoted him as saying (March 15).

Iran Shipping Lines Not Seeking LSE Listing

Iran’s leading cargo shipping enterprise – the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) – has rejected a report that it is planning to float its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Mehdi Habib-Beigi, the director of IRISL Public Relations Department, has dismissed the report as “totally false.” (March 14)

Iran to Emerge as World’s Key Zinc Supplier

A new zinc mining project in Iran, which was recently awarded to a consortium of locals, is expected to enable the country to supply at least 4 percent of the world’s total demand for the strategic metal once completed within the next few years. The development of Mehdiabad mine in central Iran would require an investment of $1.2 billion for an annual production of 800,000 tons of zinc concentrate as well as other metals (March 14).   

Russia to Produce Patriot SUVs in Iran

Russian automaker Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (UAZ) says it is planning to produce its iconic off-road Patriot vehicles as well as its pickup trucks in Iran (March 12).

Iran’s 2nd New Airbus Jetliner Lands in Tehran

A second airplane purchased by Iran through a major post-sanctions deal with the European aviation giant Airbus has landed in the capital, Tehran. The Airbus A330-200 took off from the French city of Toulouse on Saturday and landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport later in the day (March 11).

Chabahar Port Early Development in 2018

India says it expects to complete the first phase of the construction of Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar in 2018. “We can complete the work on the first phase of the project in 2018… The funds are likely to be released shortly. Tenders are out for the project,” India’s Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying by the media (March 10).  

ZTE to Pay $900m to Settle Iran Sales Case

China’s telecom giant ZTE has reportedly agreed to plead guilty and pay nearly $900 million to settle a US sanctions case involving Iran. ZTE faced allegations that it had conspired to evade US embargoes by buying US components, incorporating them into its own equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran (March 9).

Iran Banks to Push for Post-Sanctions Thaw

Three major Iranian-owned banks in Britain are reportedly planning to push the country’s banks to do business with them through a top regulating agency. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bank Sepah, Persia International Bank PLC and Melli Bank PLC were considering filing an arbitration case with Britain’s Payment Systems Regulator – the independent economic regulator for the payment systems industry in – to the same effect (March 9). 

Luxembourg Court Rejects US Bid to Freeze Iran Assets

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says a Luxembourg court has rejected the US efforts to freeze $1.6 billion of Iranian assets in the European country, adding that Washington has appealed the ruling (March 8)

Iran Invites IORA to Use Its Transportation Facilities

Iran says the littoral states of the Indian Ocean can benefit from its maritime transportation facilities to access regional as well as international shipment points (March 7).

US Bid to Seize Iran Assets in Luxembourg Illegal

A senior official with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says US efforts to seize $1.6 billion of Iran’s assets in Luxembourg run counter to the international laws and will bear no fruit (March 7).

EAEU Agrees to Form Free-Trade Zone with Iran

The prime ministers of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have signed a directive ordering preparations for a temporary agreement on forming a free-trade zone with Iran (March 7).

Americans Can Now Open Bank Accounts in Iran

Iran says it has been informed by Washington that US nationals can have bank accounts in the Islamic Republic. The announcement was made by a top official at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), as reported by the domestic media (March 6).

France Calls for Normal Banking Ties with Iran

France has called for “normalization” of banking ties with Iran to improve economic relations between the two countries. French Economy Minister Michel Sapin said relations between Iran and France have considerably developed over the past few months, adding: ”Financial circuits however need to be normalized. It’s our aim, our will-even if it can’t be done in a day.” (March 4)

Russian Carmaker to Launch Assembly Line in Iran

A Russian trade website says a leading automobile manufacturer is set to establish an assembly line in Iran in 2018. According to the website Russianconstruction.com the project will be jointly undertaken by UAZ and the Iranian company Tavan Khodro Jey Co with the two sides expected to assemble UAZ Patriot, UAZ Pickup and UAZ Cargo (March 4).

US Thwarts Europe Investment in Iran: Report

The US government has thwarted many funding projects and deals in Iran during the past months, a London-based daily says. Citing European banks’ sources, Asharq al-Awsat said many visits by European delegations to Tehran since the lifting of sanctions on Iran in January 2016 had failed to bear fruit.

Iran to Receive Two Airbus Planes Soon

A top Iranian official says Tehran is set to receive two new planes from the giant European plane maker Airbus by March 20th. Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhoundi noted that the planes would be from the family of wide-body A330 jetliners (Feb. 28).

IMF Hails Iran’s Economic Performance

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed Iran’s ability to achieve what it has described as an impressive economic recovery after the removal of multiple-year sanctions against the country (Feb. 28.

Iran Says ECO Needs to Be Restructured

Iran says it remains committed to supporting the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) but says ECO needs to be restructured to increase its efficiency. Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif told a conference of ECO foreign ministers in Islamabad that the restructuring of the Organization needed to be based on an inclusive economic plan as well as adequate growth models (Feb. 28).

Iran, Indonesia Sign Banking Cooperation Deal

Iran and Indonesia have signed an agreement to promote their banking cooperation – a move both countries say was necessary to help facilitate trade. The agreement was signed between Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and Darmin Nasution, the visiting Indonesian coordinating minister for economic affairs (Feb. 27). 

Iran, New Zealand Agree to Resume Trade

Iran has signed a new agreement to resume sheep and beef imports from New Zealand and discussed possible kiwifruit and shrimp exports to that country. New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Iranian Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati witnessed the signing of the agreement which provides for chilled and frozen sheep and beef exports to resume with Iran, a statement said (Feb. 27).  

Russia Wants to Produce Ilyushin Planes in Iran

Russia says it has presented a proposal to Iran for the joint production of its Ilyushin planes in the Islamic Republic. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying that he had presented the proposal – which involved the production of the renovated version of the Ilyushin Il-114 regional planes - in his meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran (Feb. 23). 

Iran Reliable Trading Partner for Europe

Iran says it will always be a reliable trading partner for all European countries, specifically Germany. Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, told a forum on Iran’s investment opportunities in Munich that investments made by Germany companies in Iran over the past decades had already left a good impression on Iranians (Feb. 21).

Iran Rejects Europe’s Steel Dumping Charges

Iran has brushed aside European charges of possible dumping after Europe’s steel lobby group Eurofer characterized Iranian steel exports as a threat. Eurofer said last week that Iranian exports to Europe had leapt to more than 1 million tons annually and that the EU was investigating alleged dumping of hot-rolled steel by the Middle Eastern country (Feb. 20)

Iran Announces Leasing Deal for 77 New Planes

Iran says it has reached a final deal with a foreign leasing enterprise to finance the country’s purchases of 77 new planes from global aviation giants Boeing and Airbus (Feb 17). 

EU Reports Huge Rise in Iran Steel Imports

The European Steel Association – Eurofer – has reported a significant rise in Iran’s exports of steel to Europe, saying the country is now the third biggest exporter to the continent after China and India (Feb. 17).

Iran to Create Fully-Owned Bank in Azerbaijan

Iran’s top banker says the country plans to establish a bank in Azerbaijan with 100 percent Iranian ownership. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), said that the plan involved turning a branch of Bank Melli Iran in Azerbaijan into an independent Azerbaijani bank (Feb. 16)

Sukhoi near Deal to Sell Superjet 100s to Iran

Iran says Russia’s plane maker Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company is moving closer to a deal to sell its Superjet 100 aircraft to the country. Maqsoud As’adi Samani, the secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines, was quoted as saying that Sukhoi had already started technical talks to obtain a license from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sell the planes to Iran (Feb. 14)

PSA to Carry Out Iran Plans despite US Threats

France’s auto giant PSA Group says it is pushing ahead with a plan to invest in Iran’s auto industry despite an increased anti-Iran rhetoric by the United States under President Donald Trump (Feb. 14). 

Japan’s Sojitz to Study Iran Steel Project

Japan’s Sojitz Corporation – the country’s sixth largest trading enterprise – has signed a basic agreement to study the production of steel sheets in Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar (Feb. 13). 

Sweden in Pole Position in Iran with Bus Deal

Swedish truck maker Scania has signed an agreement to deliver 1,350 buses to Iran where Prime Minister Stefan Lofven visited with his largest business team to the country ever (Feb. 13).

Iran’s Auto Production Up 40% Year-on-Year

Iran says its production of automobiles has already seen an increase of around 40 percent over a period of 11 months starting 21 March 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year Feb. 12). 

Iran Says Reliance on Oil Reduced

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says his administration has been able to reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenues over the past three years. Rouhani made the announcement in a speech at a rally in Tehran to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution (Feb. 10).

EU Court to Get Evidence of Iran Bans Impacts

Iran’s Bank Tejarat says it will soon submit documents to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the damages it has suffered as a result of EU sanctions (Feb. 9).

Turkish Retailer Eyes Expansion into Iran

Turkish discount retailer BIM says it is exploring opportunities in Iran for possible opening of stores in a country which has largely remained closed off for years under sanctions (Feb. 8) 

China Protests to US over Iran Sanctions

China says it has protested to the US for putting Chinese companies and individuals on a new sanctions list targeting Iran (Feb. 6). 

China Blocked $18bn of Iran’s Petrodollars

A report by a leading Iranian newspaper says the country has at least $18 billion still blocked in China in what appears to be a result of complications related to previous sales of oil to Beijing during the years of sanctions (Feb. 5). 

UN Court Puts Iran’s anti-US Lawsuit in Motion

Iran says a lawsuit that it had submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the principal judicial organ of the United Nations – against the United States last summer for freezing billions of dollars’ worth of its assets has been officially put in motion (Feb. 5).

Iran Says Channel to Export Carpets to US Open

Iran says the channel to export its traditional hand-woven carpets to the United States is still open amid recent concerns in Tehran that Washington under a new leadership had already banned imports and re-exports of the precious Persian handicraft (Jan. 29).

Germany Interested in Iran Investment

Several major oil and petrochemical companies from Germany have voiced interest in investing in the Iranian oil sector. The companies including BASF say they are ready to invest a total of $12 bn in Iran (Jan. 24).

Iran Self-Sufficient in Petchem Production

Iran says it has achieved self-sufficiency in production of two strategic petrochemical products which are widely used in making a variety of industrial foams and related materials (Jan. 23). 

Figures Show Iran’s Trade Balance Positive

Latest official figures show that Iran’s trade balance over a period of 10 months, starting March 2016, remained in the positive territory. Figures released by the Customs Administration of Iran showed that the country’s non-oil exports over 10 months stood at $35.2 billion, registering a moderate increase of 8.3 percent compared to the same period last year (Jan. 22).

Iran Establishes Saffron Bank

Iran has launched a high-security bank to store major amounts of the crown jewel of its non-oil exports – saffron (Jan. 22).   

Iran, Syria Sign Major Economic Deals

Iran and Syria have signed several agreements during a visit by Prime Minister Imad Khamis to Tehran, according to which the Islamic Republic will build a mobile service operator in the Arab country (Jan. 18. 

Iran, Germany Seal Diesel Locomotives Deal

Iran says it has signed a deal with Germany to cooperate over production of 50 diesel locomotives which will be used in the Iranian rail network (Jan. 17).

Iran Eyeing Return to Global Debts Markets

Serious indications are appearing that show Iranian authorities are taking steps to help local firms sell bonds abroad. This appears to be part of a plan to encourage local firms to explore alternatives to domestic lending, where rates remain above 20 percent (Jan. 12).

Danske Bank in Financing Talks with Iran

Denmark’s Danske Bank A/S says it has started talks with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on arranging credit to clients with business activities in the country (Jan. 9). 

US, Italian Firms to Save Iran’s Troubled Brands

Iran says it has started talks with major American and Italian companies to form partnerships with some of its oldest brands of household devices in what appears to be a policy to prevent their demise (Jan, 8). 

World Bank Reports Major Drop in Iran’s Debts

The World Bank says Iran’s foreign debts rose slightly in 2015 but were still significantly lower than 2011 when the country faced a series of US-led sanctions (Jan. 2).

Energy Section

Pakistan to Give Iran Gas Talks another Shot

A Pakistani delegation will be visiting Iran next month to revive talks on a planned gas pipeline which has been set back for years because of US and Saudi opposition. Iran’s gas delivery should have started in December 2014 but Pakistan has failed to complete its section of the pipeline under the contract signed back in 2010 (March 25).

Iran, Russia Eyeing Joint Gas Projects

Iran says it is negotiating with Russia to carry out joint natural gas development projects. Hamid-Reza Araqi, the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), was quoted by media as saying that negotiations to the same effect had been held between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia’s Gazprom (March 24).

Iran Delivers First Oil Cargo to Belarus

Iran has delivered a major cargo of crude oil to Belarus through a key port in southern Ukraine. A tanker carrying 600,000 barrels of oil had docked at the Port of Odessa (March 24).

Iran, Iraq to Lead Middle East Oil Growth

Speculations are growing that oil field development plans in Iran and Iraq would drive the largest production growth in the Middle East over the next four years. According to research consultancy Rystad Energy that studies the OPEC member countries in the Middle East, Iran and Iraq are on track to meet production targets and are expected to specifically contribute to a rise in production in the region from the second half of 2017 (March 21). 

Total Looks to US Permit to Start Iran Plans

France’s energy giant Total is soliciting permission from US authorities to implement a slew of projects worth several billion dollars in Iran. The biggest of all is Iran’s plans to develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field with $4 billion of investment, in which Total seeks a 50% stake (March 18).

South Korea’s Imports of Iranian Oil Up 54%

The latest official figures show that South Korea’s imports of oil from Iran rose by about 54 percent in February from a year ago (March 16).

Iran Using Gas Injections to Boost Oil Output

Speculations are emerging in media that Iran is injecting huge amounts of natural gas into its aging oil fields to boost its production of crude oil. Bloomberg in a report emphasized that Iran’s motivation for producing more gas was to re-inject it underground into crude oil reservoirs (March 16). 

Trans-Asia Link to Iran, Turkey Gets on Track 

A multi-nation conference on trans-Asia connectivity has opened in New Delhi to explore the possibility of a rail freight service connecting India with Iran and Turkey. The two-day event brings together railway and custom officials from Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, and India along with government officials, policy-makers and experts (March 15).

Iran Can Have 100% Renewable Grid by 2030

Iran has the capacity to build a 100% renewable energy system by 2030 with about $187 billion of investment, a Finnish university study has found. According to the Lappeenranta University of Technology, the country would need to develop about 49 gigawatts of solar power, 77 gigawatts of wind energy and 21 gigawatts of hydropower to achieve a zero-emissions grid (March 15).

India’s Imports from Iran Trebled in February

The latest shipping figures show that India’s imports of crude oil from Iran in February increased by about three times compared to the same period last year. Shipping data released by Reuters showed that India’s imports of oil from Iran rose to 647,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February. That was 16.7 percent more than January, and almost trebled from February 2016 (March 13).

Linde Says Banking Issues Delaying Iran Plans

German industrial gases group Linde says it has revived plant-engineering contracts in Iran but cannot work on them due to banking problems that obstructed transferring money out of the country (March 10. 

Iran, South Africa Eyeing GTL Project

Iran says it has started talks with South Africa over a strategic project to produce fuel from natural gas – a project that South Africa’s chemicals firm Sasol was pursuing in the Islamic Republic but later had to abandon as a result of sanctions (March 6)

Iran, South Africa Eyeing GTL Project

Iran says it has started talks with South Africa over a strategic project to produce fuel from natural gas – a project that South Africa’s chemicals firm Sasol was pursuing in the Islamic Republic but later had to abandon as a result of sanctions (March 6).

Iran Says It ‘Understands’ Total’s Concerns

Iran says it understands why Total had to delay a decision to go ahead with the development of a key gas project in the country until the position of the new US administration toward foreign investments in the Islamic Republic is known. “This company has announced that it is waiting for US’ final decision and we understand it,” Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy petroleum minister for international affairs and trading, told a conference in Tehran (March 5).

Iran Mulls Awarding Gas Field Deal to Shell

Iran says it may start negotiations with global energy giant Shell over the development of Kish gas field which holds the country’s largest reservoirs of natural gas after South Pars.  Noureddin Shahnazizadeh, the managing director of the Petroleum Development and Engineering Company (PEDEC), was quoted by the domestic media as saying that a planned tender over Kish might be scrapped because no other company had approached Iran over the project (March 5).

Defying Trump, Iran Draws up $80bn of Deals

Iran is negotiating $80 billion of oil deals for signing, some of which are expected to be finalized no later than the next three months, two senior officials said in Tehran (March 4).

Iran’s Post-Sanctions Oil Exports to EU Rise

Reports say Iran’s exports of crude oil to Europe surged after the EU lifted most of the trade and financial restrictions against the country in January 2016. Platts energy news service reported that Iran had sent a total of 63 major crude cargoes to France, Italy, Greece and Spain over the past year (March 2).

Asian Imports of Iran Oil up about 70%

The latest market figures show that imports of Iranian crude oil by Asia’s four main buyers increased by about 70 percent in January. Figures released by Reuters show that China, India, South Korea and Japan imported 1.64 million barrels per day (mb/d) of oil from Iran last month (Feb. 28). 

‘Total Eyeing Stake in Iranian LNG Project’

French energy giant Total is reportedly in talks with Iran to buy a major stake in one of the country’s main liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. Reuters quoted several sources with knowledge of the matter as saying that the project which Total was considering to invest was Iran LNG. The move, it said, would enable the company to unlock vast gas reserves in Iran (Feb. 27).

Iran Hails OPEC Compliance with Output Cuts

Iran has described OPEC’s level of compliance with production cuts in January as satisfactory with the country’s oil minister saying he expects more cooperation – not only from OPEC member states but also non-member producers - to cut output and help stabilize the market (Feb. 27).

Novak: Russia to Buy 100,000 bpd of Iran Oil

Energy Minister Alexander Novak says Russia is negotiating daily purchases of 100,000 barrels of crude oil from Iran. The two countries are currently discussing the terms of a potential agreement, Novak said, adding he expected the deal to be reached “within weeks.” (Feb. 27)

Indonesia to Purchase Oil from Iran

Indonesia says it is looking into the prospects of purchasing crude oil from Iran through long-term supply agreements. The announcement was made by Darmin Nasution, the visiting Indonesian coordinating minister for economic affairs (Feb. 26).

Iran’s Condensate Exports Hit New Record

The latest official figures show that Iran exported a record volume of 24 million barrels of condensate to Europe and Asia in January. The volume had been stored over several past months in tankers at sea and the bulk of exports had been made to Asia (Feb. 26).

BASF in Talks with Iran over Oil Investment

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 (Feb. 24).

‘Oil above $55 p/b Not to OPEC’s Benefit’

Iran says the member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not benefit if oil prices increase beyond $55 per barrel. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted by the domestic media as saying that if oil specifically surges above $60 per barrel, the non-OPEC producers would increase their production to benefit the most from rising prices (Feb. 23).

Iran, Russia to Sign Oil Contract Soon

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Tehran is set to sign a deal with Moscow within the next 10 to 15 days to sell 100,000 barrels per day of oil to Moscow (Feb. 21).

‘Iran, Russia Begin to Construct Power Plant’

A new report says Iran and Russia have launched a project to construct a thermal power plant in southern part of the Islamic Republic. According to the Russian website, Sputnik the project was launched in the southern city of Bandar Abbas during a ceremony attended by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (Feb. 21).

Iran, Iraq Seal Deal to Export Kirkuk Oil

Iran and Iraq have signed a basic agreement that envisages exporting Iraqi oil through the Iranian territory – a scheme that would remove Baghdad’s reliance on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to export its oil through a pipeline to Turkey. The agreement was signed during a meeting between Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi and his visiting Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh (Feb. 20).

Official Rejects Total Pulling out of Iran Project

A senior Iranian energy official has rejected reports that France’s Total had pulled out of an initial deal to develop part of Iran’s giant South Pars gas field. Total sealed the $4.8 billion deal in November to develop Phase 11 of South Pars but there are reports that it is having second thoughts amid President Donald Trump’s harsh anti-Iran rhetoric (Feb. 20)

France’s Oil Imports from Iran Jump in January

Iran has reported a major rise in exports of crude oil to France in January – an announcement that comes as the country is already expanding the list of its European oil clients. Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum announced that Iran’s oil exports to France over the past month had increased by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 180,000 bpd. The figure showed an increase of 61 percent compared to December 2016 (Feb. 19).

Iran Announces Major Shale Oil Discovery

Iran says it has discovered major reserves of shale oil in the western parts of the country with a top official saying that the reserves are the first that have a feasible potential for production. (Feb. 19)

Belarus Purchases First Ever Oil Cargo from Iran

Reuters reported that Belarus’s Bel Oil had purchased 80,000 tons – equal to 600,000 barrels – of Iranian Light and Heavy crude oil from National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for loading in February (Feb. 17)

Saudis Lose South Korea Oil Market Share to Iran

Figures show that Saudi Arabia has lost a significant share of South Korea’s oil market to Iran. The latest market figures show that South Korea’s imports of crude oil from Iran doubled in January (Feb. 16).

Iran Finds 30 Billion Barrels of Oil

Iran has discovered about a dozen new oil fields with in-place reserves of 30 billion barrels, head of exploration at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says. Some 4.7 billion barrels of these reserves are recoverable, said Seyyed Saleh Hendi who also announced the discovery of 128 trillion cubic feet of gas (Feb. 13).

Lotos Eyeing Long-Term Iran Oil Supply Deal

Poland’s second-biggest refiner Lotos says it is looking into sealing a long-term oil supply deal with Iran. Lotos Chief Executive Officer Marcin Jastrzebski was quoted as saying that the deal could be signed with Iran after his company completed a new coking unit at its Gdansk refinery next year (Feb. 12). 

Iran: No Problem for Oil Talks with Saudis

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran has no problem for talks with Saudi Arabia in order to stabilize the oil market as he praises OPEC commitment to production cuts (Feb. 8). 

Iran-Oman to Finalize Gas Pipeline Talks Soon

Iran says it expects to finalize talks over an ambitious project to export natural gas to Oman through a subsea pipeline in early March. The announcement was made by Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh after meeting Oman’s Oil and Gas Minister Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhy in Tehran (Feb. 7).

US Firms Shut Out of Iran Oil Tenders

US companies stand no chance of participating in bidding for Iran’s oil fields which the country plans to develop with international help, a senior official says. Iran’s Deputy Petroleum Minister for Commerce and International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia said that US firms do not face any restrictions for work in the resource-rich country but American sanctions make such activities impossible (Feb. 6).

Iran Extends Deadline for Bids on Oil Projects

National Iranian Oil Company has extended a deadline for bids on oil and gas projects.

Head of NIOC, Ali Kardor said the deadline for bids had been pushed back to February 15. The official went further adding the original late January deadline had been extended because “information from some companies was not complete.” (Feb. 4)

Total Sets Iran Energy Investments in Motion

Signs have emerged that France’s Total has already set in motion its plans to develop Iran’s energy projects – what could embolden other global giants that are still uncertain about the prospects for making investments in the country. A top official from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) told the domestic media that Total has officially started the development of Phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars natural gas zone – a major project which it will develop together with Iran’s Petropars and China’s CNPC (Feb. 2).

‘US Oil Companies Face No Ban in Iran’

Iran says there is no ban on American companies working in the country’s oil industry. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh says “American companies face no ban for entering our oil industry.” (Jan. 31)

Lukoil Says Iran Is Target, Sees Deal Imminent

Russia’s Lukoil Company says it hopes to reach an agreement on development of two oil fields in Iran in the first half of the year (Jan. 30).

Iran Exports Major Condensate Cargo to Japan

Iran says it has started exporting condensate – a form of ultra-light oil - from two newly launched phases of its giant South Pars gas field to Japan (Jan. 27).

Iran Starts Sending Own Oil Tankers to Europe

Reports say Iran has sent at least two supertankers to Europe in what appears to be the country’s first direct shipment of crude oil to EU clients after the removal of sanctions last year. (Jan. 27)

Europe Preparing for Biggest Iran Oil Imports

Market figures show Europe is preparing to import the highest amount of crude oil from Iran in five years this month. Figures released by Bloomberg show that arrivals on supertankers will reach 622,581 barrels a day in January, the biggest flows for a single month since at least November 2011 (Jan. 26).

OMV, Dana Energy Sign Cooperation Deal

Austria’s energy giant OMV says it has signed a basic agreement with Iran’s Dana Energy to cooperate in the Iranian oil and gas development projects (Jan. 26)

Iran’s Oil Sales Reach $30bn

Iran’s deputy petroleum minister says Tehran’s total crude oil and condensate sales reached around $30 billion in the first 9 months of the current Persian calendar year which started on March 20 (Jan. 14).

Iran Eyes $55bn Investment in Petchem Sector

Iran’s deputy petroleum minister says the country needs to attract some $55 billion worth of investment to develop its thriving petrochemical sector (Jan. 14).

‘Japan to Upgrade Iran’s Key Refineries’

Iran says it is negotiating with companies from Japan to upgrade two key refineries – a move that could further expand the country’s abilities to produce gasoline (Jan. 9).

Philippines Joins List of Iran’s Oil Clients

Iran says it is negotiating with the Philippines over exports of crude oil to the country – a fresh indication that the list of the Islamic Republic’s oil clients is still expanding after the removal of sanctions last year (Jan. 6)

Iran Says Inpex Tipped to Win Azadegan

Japan’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company is reportedly trying to win a contract over the development of a major oil project in Iran that it abandoned in 2010 (Jan. 5).

World’s Largest Oil Trader Loans $1bn to Iran

The world’s largest independent oil trader Vitol has signed a deal to provide Iran with a major loan worth $1 billion - a landmark move that can help expedite the country’s crucial plans to boost its production of crude oil (Jan. 5).

 

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  June 2017
No. 84