South Korea, Iran eye oil and gas deals

Iran's president said visit of South Korea delegates shows country is open for business.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   May 2, 2016 at 9:23 AM
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TEHRAN, May 2 (UPI) -- South Korea and Iran signed off on more than a dozen proposals, including those tied to oil and gas, as Iran's president touts the value of foreign investments.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh met Monday in Tehran with his South Korean counterparts to sign a memorandum of understanding on enhanced cooperation in the oil and gas sector. The signing came as South Korean President Park Geun-Hye met during the weekend with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran's president said the visit shows his country is open for business as sanctions pressures ease in response to last year's nuclear agreement brokered with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.

"Our economy will not get well unless we are able to attract investment," he said.

The International Monetary Fund said the Iranian economy is expected to grow by about 4 percent this year and is outperforming its peers. The IMF said members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group that includes members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, should see economic growth slow from 3.75 percent last year.

Among the proposals signed in Tehran were consideration for cross-country natural gas pipeline projects. Apart from oil, Iran holds some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world in the offshore South Pars complex.

With few resources of its own, the U.S. Energy Information Administration ranks South Korea near the top in terms of needed imports of natural gas. According to Iranian media, South Korea has more than tripled its imports of Iranian oil and gas.

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