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Iran networking with energy companies from Vienna

Country's oil minister takes time from OPEC meeting to discuss work with Total.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Iran networking with energy companies from Vienna
Iran is working the ropes from the sidelines of an OPEC conference in Vienna as it tries to draw in more foreign investments. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- Iranian officials in Vienna worked the sidelines at a meeting Thursday to discuss possible gas development deals with European companies, state media reported.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh met on the sidelines of a multilateral conference steered by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with Patrick Pouyanne, the chairman and chief executive officer of French energy company Total, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

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Total in November signed a head of agreement deal with the National Iranian Oil Co. to help develop phase 11 of the South Pars natural gas complex in the Persian Gulf, the largest of its kind in the world. For Total, Pouyanne said it's a return to business that started more than 10 years ago.

Under the terms of the agreement for South Pars, project partners will work toward finalizing a 20-year formal contract that meets the terms of post-sanctions guidelines.

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Iran's networking efforts in Vienna comes as the country tries to bring new foreign investors to an energy sector slowly reopening after years of isolation because of Western sanctions. Sanctions pressures have eased since Iran agreed to a multilateral nuclear agreement last year.

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Earlier this week, Iranian 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."

The year before sanctions relief emerged from Iran, Chatham House said the capital and technological needs for Iran were "severe." With Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who helped steer the post-sanction economy, earning a second term in office, the oil minister said the path was cleared for future investments from foreign energy companies.

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