TEHRAN, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Iranian media reported Wednesday a delegation from Austrian energy company OMV is en route to Tehran to explore stronger energy ties with the Islamic republic.
"An energy committee between Iran and Austria is being held in order for the two countries to assess the road map to mutual cooperation in energy and economic fields," the oil ministry's news website SHANA reported.
OMV was among the first to sign agreements with Iran this year in a step toward resuming formal operations in the oil- and gas-rich member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Sanctions pressures on Iran started easing in January after the United Nations confirmed compliance with a multilateral nuclear agreement brokered last year. European sanctions are easing faster than those enacted by the United States, though some sanctions that remain in place make it difficult to do business with Iran.
SHANA reports OMV representatives are slated to meet with deputy trade officials in Tehran during the weekend to review the potential for natural gas exports to Europe.
Iran has offered its natural gas to a European market working to break Russia's hold over the energy sector. Russia supplies about a quarter of Europe's gas, though much of that runs through Ukraine, where regional conflicts have created risks to energy security.
The reported arrival of OMV follows a string of agreements signed between Iran and European energy companies. SHANA reported that Royal Dutch Shell signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Co. to develop some of the oil fields near the border with Iraq.
Iran has been opening its economic doors to potential investors after so-called Implementation Day, when the country was verified as meeting the terms of a U.N.-backed nuclear agreement, passed in January. It's the only member of OPEC that has room for production growth under the terms of an agreement reached last week in Vienna.