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Iran sees need for major offshore investments

Deputy trade minister says there's a major need for capital for oil and gas development.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Iran sees need for major offshore investments
Despite sanctions relief, an Iranian trade minister said major capital streams are needed for the offshore oil and gas sector. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- Speaking after moderate President Hassan Rouhani's re-election, an Iranian trade minister said the country needs major investments for offshore oil and gas.

Rouhani beat out a challenge from conservative rival Ibrahim Raisi to secure a second term in office. Under Rouhani's tenure, Iran has drawn investment interest from European oil and gas companies, though further capital streams are needed.

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According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Deputy Trade Minister Mansour Moazzami said the surge in interest since sanctions relief emerged in 2016 might not last and the country requires "an investment of $30 billion in its offshore sector."

A report from Chatham House in 2015, before sanctions relief emerged, said Iran is in "severe need" of technology and capital that could emerge from a stronger relationship with international oil and gas companies. The report said Iranian officials have a tendency to hype the level of interest, however, noting that global energy companies would invest only if their terms are advantageous.

On the domestic front, the report said there's been a slow drain of human capital away from the Iranian energy sector.

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Moazzami said the multilateral nuclear agreement that brought sanctions relief to Iran was paying off nonetheless. With an offshore oil and gas conference under way in Tehran, the minister said deals were expected with the maritime division of Korea's Daewoo, a division that includes container ships and oil tankers.

RBC Capital Markets reported last week that a Rouhani victor "would almost certainly" open the Iranian energy sector up to foreign investments. European companies like Austria's OMV and French supermajor Total are already in line to step up activity in Iran.

Iran is one of the lead oil producers among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Its offshore South Pars field, which is shares with Qatar, is the largest natural gas field in the world.

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