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Iran awaits Austrian energy investments

OMV in August confirmed preparations to do business in Iran.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Iran welcomes Austrian president and representatives from energy company OMV to review post-sanctions trade relations. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/65e3438c83a9f9e8a0163384279e6db7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Iran welcomes Austrian president and representatives from energy company OMV to review post-sanctions trade relations. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

TEHRAN, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Iran is preparing to welcome Austrian oil and natural gas company OMV back to the energy sector as sanctions pressure eases, a deputy Iranian minister said.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer arrived Monday in Tehran, leading business delegates to the country to review potential trade relations with the Islamic republic.

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Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia, the Iranian deputy oil minister in charge of international affairs, told the oil ministry's officials news site SHANA, the Iranian energy sector was opening its doors to investors.

"Using new technologies, OMV is ready to double production of Iran's oil and gas fields through enhanced oil recovery and improved oil recovery methods," he said, without specifics.

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SHANA reports Rainer Seele, the chief executive officer at OMV, met Tuesday with Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh to discuss working in Iran. Zangeneh said last week the country will increase net oil production by more than 1.5 million barrels per day, bringing total production for the Islamic republic to just over 4 million bpd.

European energy companies are taking the initiative as sanctions pressures ease on Iran, something Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said could help ensure energy security in the region. The Iranian government said representatives from French oil company Total were among those attending an investment conference in Tehran in early 2015.

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European powers have cleared some of the sanctions standing in the way of investments in the Iranian sector since a multilateral nuclear agreement was reached with Iran in July. In response to email questions in August, OMV said there "is a chance" in the post-sanctions energy sector in Iran.

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Production during the pre-sanctions area was around 3 million bpd. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Iran is expected to start up dozens of oil and gas projects, worth an estimated $185 billion, by the end of the year.

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