2 January 2022 - 19:26
  • News Code: 451293
Innovation Diplomacy on MOP Agenda: Deputy

TEHRAN (Shana) -- The Deputy Petroleum Minister for International Affairs and Trading said: "After the signing of the gas swap agreement, attractive proposals were made by some countries in the region, which we are pursuing. If these proposals lead to signing of a contract, a good thing will happen in the field of energy diplomacy.”

In the second installment of his interview with Shana, the Deputy Minister of Petroleum for International Affairs and Trading explained the various aspects of the Turkmen gas swap agreement from Iran to Azerbaijan and defined innovation diplomacy: "The issue of public diplomacy is very important. It should be noted that international affairs is not merely about inviting an ambassador, or a working lunch, and holding a ceremonial commission, but also about scripting and gameplay.”

Innovation Diplomacy and Boosting Attraction Capacity in Oil Industry

In the second part of his interview, Mr. Asadzadeh spoke of innovation diplomacy in the Ministry of Petroleum: “As the Deputy Minister of Petroleum for International Affairs and Trading, we are at the junction of the Ministry of Petroleum and both inside and outside the country, and one of the places in which the Deputy Minister should play a role is cooperation between countries in research and development. Today, companies can conduct research on an important topic by forming some research networks, such partnerships are both humanitarian in nature and in some ways anti-sanctions, and will have very fruitful results.”

Asadzadeh continued: "One of the issues that is raised is the issue of Iranian immigrants and specialists living abroad. These people can and are very interested in cooperating with Iran, but the field of cooperation with these people should be facilitated. This requires increasing the absorption capacity within the oil industry, and we have sometimes seen individuals or capacities brought in from abroad, but they have not been exploited as they should be. The activation of this department in the international department depends on the innovation ecosystem in the Ministry of Petroleum to reach a proper order and planning so that we can support it.”

International work not just about inviting an ambassador or having a business lunch

He further underlined public diplomacy, and said: "The issue of public diplomacy is a very important one. It should be noted that international work is not just about inviting an ambassador or a working lunch and holding a ceremonial commission, but also about scripting and gameplay. In the international arena, some issues need to be leveraged in order to employ the actors in question. In order for an issue to be resolved in international relations, multilateral media, professional, technical and political work must be done to bring the issue to an end.”

"Energy is not a joke, and today it is a lever of power, and because of that they start wars and sometimes an oil contract changes the geopolitical map of the region, so the public diplomacy sector as a progressive front can pave the ground," he said. “It is necessary to create a media discourse by identifying coherent currents as well as experts inside and outside the country and forming research networks, and this is something in which we desperately need work and effort.”

Asadzadeh said: "I am determined to activate this sector with the cooperation of relevant departments within the Ministry of Petroleum, such as public relations. Of course, the main burden of this work is on public relations, but scenario planning is the responsibility of this department.”

The lock that opened the relations

The Turkmen gas swap agreement from Iran to Azerbaijan was signed in the presence of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on November 28, less than 100 days after the 13th administration took office. It can bring great achievements to Iran and break the ice of Iran's relations with its neighbors.

The official touched on the contract: “The importance of the gas swap contract is that it has been signed between three government pillars; Turkmengas (Turkmenistan), SOCAR (Azerbaijan) and the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) (Iran). The agreement is doubly important after the cooling of bilateral relations and is an effective step to break the lock on relations with Turkmenistan. Previously, the swap was done by the private sector, which was a good and positive step, but unfortunately it was stopped for some reason under the previous administration.”

Asadzadeh said that during the signing of the new gas swap agreement, relations between Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan were reviewed and provided a platform for reviving and pursuing the development of the Alborz oil field in the Caspian Sea. “Some claims have been made by a number of uninformed people about the price of the swap that have not been confirmed, and this is a win-win deal for the country.”

He said that signing of the agreement will be a platform for improving Iran's bilateral relations with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and although the volume of the agreement is not high, as I said, it has unlocked bilateral relations and our goal was to sign this agreement. He added: "The Ministry of Petroleum has already taken good measures to provide winter fuel for the northeastern region and it was not kept by the contract, but nevertheless, injection of this gas in the northeastern regions will help stability of the network."

The First Step

Noting that Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are three important players in the region's gas industry and that these three countries together have a quarter of the world's gas reserves, he said: "Despite this level of reserves, these three countries in total account for only 8.7% of world gas output, which is not commensurate with the amount of their reserves and potential production capacity. Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan exported 31.6, 16 and 13.6 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines in 2020, respectively, and a total of 61.1 billion cubic meters, and their share of 755 billion cubic meters of world gas exports through pipelines is only 8%. And of the total gas trade in the form of pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG), their share is equivalent to 1,243 billion cubic meters, which is only five percent of that of the world.”

Asadzadeh added: "Considering the landlockedness of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and Iran's access to high seas on the one hand and Iran's access to some neighbors in need of natural gas, using Iran's geography for transit or swap of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan gas to other countries can increase the export capacity and, consequently, the gas production of the three countries and the establishment of a stable interaction that serves the interests of all three countries. As a result, this tripartite agreement could be the first step in long-term trilateral gas trade cooperation to increase their share of regional and global gas markets.”

He said that in addition to the development of gas trade through tripartite cooperation, there is a wide capacity for the exchange of knowledge and technical-engineering services from upstream to downstream of the gas chain, which can increase the efficiency and reduce waste, bring positive and valuable effects on improving the level of refining and export potentials of the country. "I believe that these three countries can have better performance in the medium and long term with a cooperative approach and become more influential players in the region and the world in terms of gas production and exports in the future," he said.

News Code 451293

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