UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the conditions are right for Italian energy companies to start working in the country in the post-sanctions era.
Rouhani met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on the sidelines of meetings at the U.N. headquarters in the United States. With sanctions pressure easing, the Iranian president said Italy may be among the early entrants in the oil and gas business in Iran.
"Considering that some Italian firms have had cooperation with Iran in oil, gas and heavy industries, the ground is more prepared for their operation in Iran's economy," he said.
Italian energy company Eni had a $550 million deal to help Iran develop its Darkhovin oil field before suspending operations in 2010 under sanctions pressure. The field was expected to produce 160,000 barrels of oil per day.
"There are numerous areas of investment in Iran from the oil and gas sector to the petrochemical, transport, industries and mine sectors," Rouhani said.
Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive officer of Italian energy company Eni, was among the hundreds of representatives who joined Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni on an official visit to Tehran in August.
Iran said it could regain leverage on the international stage and within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which it's a member, once sanctions pressures ease.
According to OPEC's latest estimate, Iranian crude oil production of 2.86 million barrels per day is the highest for the Islamic republic since 2013
Investment firm ING reported Iranian oil exports could spike "in theory," though there are some technical and political obstacles. OPEC in its August market report said Iranian crude oil exports will rise "eventually."
Iran was to roll out new contract terms for the oil and gas sector to potential investors at a conference scheduled in London in December. Event organizer CWC said last week the National Iranian Oil Co. called to delay the conference to late February.