EghtesadOnline: Tehran is confident about raising more than $20 billion from international companies for its oil and natural gas projects in 12 months, despite facing the shadow of new US sanctions that could throw the nuclear deal into peril and ward off foreign investment.
In an interview with Financial Times, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, Amirhossein Zamaninia, said the country is negotiating with the world's largest energy companies to develop its oil and gas fields.
“Any international oil company that you know, we are negotiating with … except the Americans,” he was quoted as saying on Thursday. He added that the negotiations can lead to signing over $20 billion worth of new energy contracts in a year from now.
Nearly 18 months after Tehran's nuclear pact with the world came into force, Iran sealed a $5 billion deal with French energy group Total S.A. to develop a major offshore gas project in the Persian Gulf, according to Financial Tribune.
But the same deal that has helped the country to open up its energy market to foreign investment can be dealt a blow by US President Donald Trump's decision to decertify Tehran's compliance with the 2015 and a possible US Congress move to introduce new restrictions to hurt Iran's trade with foreign companies.
But international companies are unconcerned about Washington's anti-Iran measures, according to Zamaninia who said he sees "no tangible change in international oil companies’ determination [to invest] and the speed of their negotiations with Iran".
Other signatories of the nuclear agreement–Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China–have vocally opposed Trump's hawkish policy and urged the US president to stick to the deal.
Iran has "almost regained" its crude oil market share, pumping over 3.8 million barrels per day now from 2.4 million bpd under sanctions, Zamaninia said.
The country was allowed to sell about 1 million bpd of oil to a handful of customers under temporary waivers when sanctions were in place. After last year's lifting of sanctions, Iran ramped up crude sales to its backbone customers in Asia while shipments to Europe, a previously untapped market, makes up nearly 40% of total crude exports, officials say.
But the No. 3 OPEC producer, which is part of a global agreement to cut supplies by 1.8 million barrels daily through March 2018, is looking to raise its production capacity in the long run.
"There is no shame bigger than for Iran, with its huge oil and gas resources, to have such low volumes of oil and gas production,” the deputy oil minister said.
Iran has as much as 160 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and about 34 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, according to estimates.
According to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, crude production capacity should reach 4.7 million barrels a day by 2021, though actual output may be lower.
The government says around $200 billion should be spent across the chain of Iran's petroleum industry, with $130 billion required in exploration and production ventures alone.