European countries seek cooperation with Iran in petrochemical sector
A high-ranking Iranian petrochemical industry official says several European countries have indicated their willingness to invest in Iran’s petrochemical sector once international sanctions against the country are removed.
According to Ministry of Petroleum’s SHANA news agency, Abbas She’ri-Moqaddam, managing director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), noted that once sanctions are removed, Iran will be ready to cooperate with countries that are known for their advanced petrochemical industry.
He added that “several European countries that were cooperating” with Iran’s petrochemical industry in past years “have indicated their willingness to return to the country.”
She’ri-Moqaddam stated that in addition to European countries, there are a high number of other countries that have expressed willingness to take part in the implementation of Iran’s petrochemical projects.
Abbas She’ri-Moqaddam, managing director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) ©SHANA
“If sanctions are removed,” the official said, Iran can “take advantage of foreign investment and technology transfer by these countries for the implementation of its development projects” in petrochemical sector.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Iran to prevent other countries from investing in the country’s oil and gas industry. The sanctions were imposed under the pretext that there is a military aspect to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program; an allegation Iran categorically rejected.
The Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva last November, which led to relative loosening of sanctions against Iran, paving the way for further cooperation in various economic fields between Iran and other countries.
The two sides also reached a mutual understanding on April 2, 2015 in the Swiss city of Lausanne, which is considered a prelude to the achievement of a comprehensive deal before a self-designated deadline at the end of June. A key point of Lausanne statement was a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran – including those imposed on the country’s oil industry.
File photo shows an oil refinery and petrochemical complex in the southwestern port of Mahshahr, Iran. ©AP
Following the Lausanne understanding Iran’s oil industry officials said international companies have voiced interest in taking up projects in the country’s oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
The Iranian official also expressed hope that after sanctions are removed, Iran would be able to transfer new technical know-how and attract foreign investment in order to achieve development goals set for the country’s petrochemical industry.
She’ri-Moqaddam said implementation of high-priority projects is a major goal of Iran’s petrochemical sector during the current year with other goals being the attraction of foreign direct investment and promotion of cooperation between Iranian private sector and foreign investors.
Last Saturday, secretary of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations (AIPC) was quoted by Fars news agency as saying that Iran’s petrochemical sector is capable of attracting USD 70 billion in domestic and foreign investment.
Ahmad Mahdavi Abhari added that the value of half-finished projects in Iran’s petrochemical sector amounted to USD 70 billion, proving that the sector has a good potential to attract foreign investment.