New chapter in Iran-Russia oil cooperation

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TEHRAN. KAZINFORM - Following escalation of West's sanctions against Moscow and exclusion from European oil projects Russian companies have turned to Iran by offering financial resources and financing and thus open a new chapter in presence in Iran's oil industry.

With regard to the progress of nuclear talks and the possibility for lifting of the sanctions in a near future, the Oil Ministry has started negotiations with international companies in order to prepare the ground for renewed presence of companies enjoying technology and funding in Iran's oil industry. But with the conditions set by some creditable European companies for presence in Iran's oil industry, officials of the National Iranian Oil Company are looking for more reliable ways and have started negotiations with Russian and Chinese companies in order to use them to fill in the gap in Iran's oil industry. Such negotiations have been constructive and prepared the ground for the presence of Russian companies in some Iranian oil and gas fields, according to IRNA .

Asghar Soheilipour, Chairman of the Investment Committee of National Iranian Gas Company commenting on cooperation of Russian companies said: "Since the Russians ceased their projects in Europe, especially in East Europe and Syria for different reasons, are highly interested in financing in our projects." He said even some companies have proposed to start cooperation with an investment of $2 billion without any formalities.

He had previously announced that the 300-km Iranshahr-Chabahar gas project will be completed with a $700 million by a Russian company within the framework of a signed contract. He further remarked that the contract for the completion of Iranshahr-Chabahar pipeline which is about 240 km in 56-inch and 60 km in 36-inch pipeline has been signed with a Russian company and will be completed in two years.

Meanwhile, Hamid Reza Araqi, Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company has announced readiness of a large number of domestic and foreign investors for making investment in Iranshahr-Chabahar gas pipeline and said an agreement had been signed with a Russian company to this end. The trend of cooperation between Iran and Russia in the oil industry has escalated in recent months and taken an upward trend so that recently Tehran and Moscow signed a document for joint cooperation which is said to be worth about 70 billion euro.

Commenting on Iran-Russian cooperation in oil and gas industry, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said exploitation of hydrocarbon resources of Iran is attractive for Russia but so far with regard to the sanctions cooperation between the two countries has been restricted. He said Russia is cooperating with Iran in the field of energy and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and sanctions against Russia cannot impede such cooperation. Russian presence will not be confined to gas industry and construction of pipeline rather some officials have referred to their presence in the area of maintaining oil industry equipment and goods.

Ezatollah Akbari, Managing Director of Manufacturing Support and Procurement of Kala Naft Tehran Company said with regard to the demand of Iran's oil industry for some strategic commodities which are facing difficulties as a result of sanctions imposed by the West capacities of Russia can be used. Akbar said that an Iranian delegation is due to visit Moscow to examine cooperation capacities of Russia in the oil and gas fields so that by considering all the dimensions appropriate decisions will be taken for the development of such cooperation.

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