Upon implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and removal of sanctions in January, international oil companies, in a bid to participate in the Iranian oil industry, launched negotiations some of which have led to signing MoUs or Agreements in Principle (AIPs).
Willingness of foreign companies for oil cooperation with Iran comes at a time when many believed that pressures on the side of the US as well as concerns over return of sanctions would create formidable obstacles to activities of international oil giants in Iran.
Previously, certain anti-JCPOA comments made by President-elect of the US Donald Trump had aroused concerns among foreign parties though their worries assuaged gradually.
Some experts believe that Trump’s stances will become softened once he takes the office in the White House and he will wake up to realities of global economy.
Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh had previously maintained that election of Trump has so far had no effect on oil talks between Iran and foreign sides.
The MoUs and AIPs inked in recent weeks with credible international companies like Shell, Total, Gazprom and PETRONAS are symbolic of firm determination of international giants for oil cooperation with Iran.
Meanwhile, NIOC deputy head has reported on signing of 24 cooperation agreements with international companies.
Manouchehri has emphasized commitment of NIOC to security of investment in the country’s oil and gas industry saying “even in the upstream sector of Iran’s oil and gas industry, investments enjoy a high level of security.”
The official emphasized that, in view of current crude prices, investment in upstream oil sector will not necessarily possess economic feasibility adding that lack of economic justifiability holds true for unconventional oilfields like Shale oil or deep waters of Mexican Gulf.
He, however, recalled that oil recovery costs in Iran are extremely low, a fact which lowers investment risks and boosts eagerness of international companies for investment in Iran’s oil and gas industries.
He deemed international exhibitions and conferences as excellent opportunities to better introduce potentials and capacities for investment in Iran.
“So far, NIOC has signed into 12 MoUs with international companies like Shell, Total, Inpex Corporation and Gazprom,” underlined Manouchehri estimating that 10 to 12 more cooperation agreements will be inked the upstream sector of Iranian oil industry.