June 4 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Saipem may be interested in working in the Iranian energy market despite U.S. sanctions concerns, Iran's energy ministry reported.
Iranian petrochemicals executives meet on the sidelines of the PLAST plastics and rubber exhibition in Milan with executives from Saipem. According to SHANA, the Iranian oil ministry's news website, both sides discussed cooperation in sectors ranging from refining and licensing agreements at various petrochemical facilities in Iran.
"Saipem officials said they were interested in cooperating with Iranian petrochemical companies against feared re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran after Washington's pullout of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal Iran clinched with the P5+1 group of countries back in 2015," the SHANA report read.
Iran has been trying to salvage the nuclear agreement with the remaining Chinese, European and Russian parties. U.S. sanctions pressures, however, would make it difficult to maneuver in the Iranian energy space because of the subsequent financial restrictions.
U.S. President Donald Trump said the deal was flawed and exploited by Iran, though his global counterparts argue it was essential for world peace. Yukiya Amano, the general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog -- said Iran was playing by the rules.
"The agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its safeguards agreement," he said in a statement. "Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue."
Trump set a 180-day clock ticking when he pulled out of the JCPOA on May 8 for Iranian oil clients to find other resources. The potential loss of Iranian barrels helped drive oil prices higher in mid May, though Russia and members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have hinted more oil could come on the market in the second half of the year to offset any deficits.
Elsewhere, Saipem said Monday it landed a $1.3 billion contract to build export pipelines in the Middle East. Apart from signaling design specifics for the offshore sector, the company gave no other details on the contract.