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Iran is determined to launch three big liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said. “One project will be handled by French Total and Malaysian Petronas to produce 10mn tons of LNG. The second project goes to Britain’s Shell while the third one will be implemented inside the country,” Zanganeh said.

“At the moment, we can allow up to 49% of foreign investment and welcome foreign companies to help us launch LNG projects,” the minister said.

Deputy Oil Minister Mehdi Mirmoezi said Iran has decided to award Total a US$1.2bn contract to develop phase 11 of the massive South Pars offshore gasfield. “Total has been chosen to develop phase 11 of South Pars,” he said. “The final negotiations are in progress, and unless there is a problem, the contract will be signed in one or two months.”

Zanganeh also said that Iran has already signed an oil exports deal with a company from the UAE. “We are negotiating with Kuwait and our talks are going on with Armenia for gas exports.”

Regarding oil prices, he said that he believed an oil price hovering around US$28 per barrel would be a “good price” for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
“I consider that US$28 a barrel is a good price for Opec, or one or two dollars more or less,” the minister said.

“The objective should be to maintain the price of a barrel in the upper part of the 22 to 28 dollar bracket,” added the minister.

Iran is Opec’s second exporter. Opec ministers agreed in March to press ahead with an output cut of 4% from April 1, dismaying importers such as the US. But Zanganeh blamed the high prices on “refining problems in the United States and the political tensions in the Middle East, and OPEC can do nothing to solve these two problems.”