Iran Is Ready to Work with U.S. Companies, Oil Minister Says

By Kayhan Life Staff

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said that with the exception of Israel, the Islamic Republic is ready to work with any country in the world, including the U.S., in the oil, gas and the petrochemical sector.

Mr. Zanganeh made the comments at a news conference on July 21 after the signing of a contract agreement for the development of the South Azadegan Oil Field, in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

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“We are negotiating a broad, long-term agreement with China,” Zanganeh was quoted by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) as saying. “I can assure you that China has not asked us for any special considerations in the oil sector, nor do we ever grant such a request. The talks center on long-term cooperation in developing oil fields, refineries, and the country’s petrochemical industry.”

“With the exception of the Zionist regime, we are ready to cooperate with any country in the world in these areas. We are not even barred from working with American companies, contractors, and investors,” Zanganeh noted. “I do not understand why some people have made such a fuss about the deal [with China]. The government and the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] will never agree to a deal that would hurt the country’s interests. This will be a bilateral agreement. We have a friendly relationship with China.”

“Working with international companies is not a way of attracting foreign investments,” Zanganeh explained. “Our main goal is to acquire technology to explore and develop resources. Reciprocal relationships could strengthen our position in the market. However, we will not cease to exist if no country would work with us. We have proven, repeatedly, that we advance and progress despite adversities.”

“We will soon sign a Heads of Agreement [HoA] with domestic companies to develop Farzad-A Gas Field [120 kilometers off Bandar Bushehr on the Iran-Saudi Arabia maritime border in the Persian Gulf],” Zanganeh said. “No foreign country will sign a contract with us right now. We depend solely on our domestic capabilities.”

Asked about the country’s oil, gas and petrochemical projects, Zanganeh said: “Iran’s petrochemical production will increase by 25 million tons this year, showing the largest industry growth in the country’s history. The second phase of the project will see the production of crude-base products increase to 100 million tons by 2021. We will generate $25 billion in revenue.”

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“Setareh Khaleej Fars [gas condensates refinery, in Bandar Abbas, in the southern province of Hormozgan] will increase its production to 400 barrels per day (bpd),” Zanganeh noted. “We will soon sign nine new contracts with domestic companies for EPD [engineering, procurement, and drilling] and EPC [engineering, procurement, and construction]. The Oil Industry Research and Technology Fund will start work soon. We have made significant progress in the downstream petrochemical industry, and the production of the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and the methanol-to-olefins (MTO).”

“We also plan to increase production at the South Azadegan Oil Field from 140,000 bpd to 320,00 bpd, and produce 200 million cubic feet of gas to be used at the Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) 3200 [project in Khuzestan],” Zanganeh explained. “Our main goal is to develop the fields west of the Karun River and the South Pars Gas Fields.”

In 2009, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Iran signed a contract for the development of the South Azadegan Oil Field. In 2016, the CNPC completed phase one of the project, producing 75,000 bpd. The company has not started phase two of the project, which aims to double production.

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.