British companies anticipate participation in Iran’s energy industry

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TEHRAN, (Xinhua) — British Petroleum’s (BP) head of Middle East operations, Michael Townshend, said Monday that BP is willing to return to Iran and resume its activities in oil and gas exploration, in addition to production projects.

BP is equipped with a range of enterprise it can share with Iran to expedite expertise and technology management transfer, Townshend told Iran’s Petro-energy Information network (SHANA) during a meeting with Iranian petroleum officials Monday.

BP has extensive experience in large brown-field projects particularly surrounding the Iran-Iraq border, Townshend said, adding that “We can add value to Iran. Regarding exploration, we have focused on Iran for quite some time, conducting several studies in 2000.”

He added further “What we are all after is to see what this new era will bring with it. If sanctions are lifted, this will lead to various positive opportunities.”

Iran’s rich oil sector and BP look forward to new partnerships with Iranians, he added.

Iran is home to the world’s fourth-largest proved oil reserves and has the second-biggest proved natural gas reserves.

Western oil companies, including BP, drifted away from Iran in the late 1990s and early 2000s under pressure from the United States over a host of controversial issues.

Visiting British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Francis Anthony Aylmer Maude told Xinhua Sunday that international British enterprises seek long-term presence in Iran’s post-sanction energy and industry market.

“What distinguishes British companies, is the fact that they all cooperate on a global scale” Maude said, adding that their cooperation are on long-term investment basis.

“None of the companies operate on short-term basis. They look forward to long-term partnerships with their Iranian counterparts,” he stressed.

Maude said Saturday that his accompanying economic and business delegation needs to ensure that Iran’s environment is ready for investment which would lead to “successful” partnerships with Iranian businessmen.

He expressed hope that Iran’s nuclear program and subsequent international nuclear accord, would bring Iran on board with world economy.

In addition, Iran’s deputy oil minister for international affairs and trade, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, said Sunday that British energy companies are willing to partake in developing Iranian oil fields and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, according to Press TV.

British companies will cooperate with Iran’s oil industry in transferring technologies, mutual investment as well as joint project implementation, Zamaninia said.

A delegation representing British companies will visit Iran in the coming two weeks to discuss cooperation details with Iranian companies regarding developing oil fields and increasing production from Iranian oil reservoirs, including participating in Iran’s LNG projects.

“The British have emphasized the need to take preliminary measures to cooperate with Iran to enable both countries to sign contracts when sanctions are lifted” he said.

Iranian deputy oil minister highlighted that Iran is ready to introduce models of new oil contracts during the international conference in Tehran in February 2016.

Garry Dryburgh, Middle East and Africa President of the British oil giant Amec Foster Wheeler said in September that the company is carefully monitoring the progress of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, in order to gage the feasibility of returning to Iran’s energy market.

“We’ve had relatively good relations with many local Iranian engineering oil and gas contractors in the past, and we would be rather pleased to reestablish those relations following the lifting of sanctions,” Dryburgh told SHANA.

On Oct. 18, Iran and world powers announced the beginning of implementing the nuclear deal reached on July 14 in Vienna.

Thus far, Western countries have taken a pragmatic approach and launched the process of lifting sanctions imposed upon Iran, as Tehran responded positively, anticipating the lifting of some sanctions this year.

Iran expressed its readiness to expand its ties with European countries within this new zeitgeist, in addition to the lifting as well as reduction of sanctions, especially in the banking and industrial sectors.

A number of officials from leading Western countries recently visited Tehran in an effort to reestablish ties, hence restore economic cooperation.

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