Iran and Russia have signed a range of agreements in the energy sector, with Iran declaring it has the capacity to invest over US$62bn in the gas sector alone over the coming years.

The two countries sealed a deal to build a US$1.6bn thermal power plant, inked two agreements to survey the Cheshmeh Khosh and Changoleh oilfields in the west of the country and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on gas trade and investment, according to Iranian news agency Irna.

The deals were announced during the 13th Iran-Russia Joint Economic Commission this week (IRJEC).

The power plant deal was made with Iran’s Thermal Power Plants and will see the construction of a 1,400MW capacity plant, built in four 350MW units. The plant will be located in the Hormuzgan province.

Russian minister of energy, Alexander Novak, says the project will be financed by Russian credit lines.

The oilfields agreements were made between the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company and Russia’s Gazprom. Meanwhile, the gas pact was made between the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and Gazprom. The MoU will see the formation of five working groups on various areas such as gas trade and research and development, according to Irna.

Iranian petroleum minister, Bijan Zangeneh, commented during the week that most of Iran’s oilfields are being developed by Russian companies and that Russian oil producer Lukoil is co-operating with Iran for the development of the Mansouri and Ab Teymour oilfields located in the Khuzestan province.

During the IRJEC, which started this Monday, Novak said the volume of trade ties between the two countries had risen by 80% compared with last year.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), the value of Iran’s exports to Russia was US$86.5mn in the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (which started on March 20).

The visit is expected to be a major step towards implementation of the decision made by the presidents of the two countries to expand bilateral ties.