Iran launches international oil conference

U.S. says Iranian oil doors still closed to would-be investors.

By Daniel J. Graeber

TEHRAN, May 6 (UPI) -- Iran said Wednesday it opened its doors to international investors to gather for an oil and gas exhibition with hundreds of foreign companies in attendance.

"Iran has started holding a four-day international oil and gas show to lure investment for its oil and gas projects amid hopes for the removal of sanctions on the Islamic republic," reported Shana, the official news agency for the Iranian Oil Ministry.


Iran has touted its oil and gas potential since nuclear negotiations with multinational partners began in earnest earlier this year. A framework agreement that pulls Iran back from the brink of developing the technology needed to make a nuclear weapon could be formalized this summer. Iran's government said sanctions pressure should end once the deal is official.

Iranian oil production of 2.7 million barrels per day has remained relatively steady since 2013. Exports are limited to around 1 million bpd and to only six other countries.

In a monthly review, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries noted the Iranian government viewed its oil industry as "very attractive" to foreign investors, including those from the U.S. and European economies.


Iran's Oil Ministry said "British, French, German, Italian, Russian and Chinese companies" are among those participating in the four-day conference.

This week, the government in Tehran said it expected U.S. representatives would attend the event.

"We will witness the presence of major international U.S. oil and gas companies in Iran," Deputy Oil Minister Abbas Moqadam said.

Asked about the announcement during a regular press briefing this week, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said sanctions are still in place on Iran.

"We don't consider Iran to be open for business yet," he said.

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