Owji: Iran Welcomes Local, Int'l Investors to Participate in Oil Industry

TEHRAN (Shana) – Iranian Minister of Petroleum, Javad Owji, emphasized the need to invest in Iran’s oil industry, adding, "we welcome all domestic and foreign investors."

Owji made the remarks at the inauguration ceremony of the 26th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition, aka Iran Oil Show, and said investors are well aware of the profitable investment in this sector given the energy crisis.

As one of the largest exhibitions in the world oil industry, Iran Oil Show is an annual gathering and a place for domestic and foreign activists’ interactions in Iran’s oil industry, he said.

The 26th Iran Oil Show’s motto of “Knowledge-based oil, Iranian production, Global exports” is very inspiring, he said, a knowledge-based oil industry and focusing on the domestic production are Iran’s Petroleum Ministry’s top priority at the current stage, the same as it is across the world where oil industry is an area of development of many new technologies.

Referring to participation of 23 universities and research centers and over 100 knowledge-based companies, startups, technology parks and science and research towns in the exhibition, he said it shows the Petroleum Ministry is determined in this area, adding the motto of the year “knowledge-based production and job creation”, announced by the Iranian Supreme Leader, has also increased our responsibility.

Emphasizing that our approach to a knowledge-based oil industry and focusing on the domestic production is by no means a slogan, Owji stated, "Petroleum Ministry and the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology prepared and regulated the plan for knowledge-based production and job creation in oil industry which will soon be approved by the Cabinet."

Wide-ranging measures to increase production, make a knowledge-based oil industry and create more employment opportunities are on the agenda of the Ministry of Petroleum, Owji noted.

The second step in establishing a knowledge-based oil industry and focusing on the domestic production was issuing a call for participation of knowledge-based companies in oil industry’s prioritized areas, he added, over 300 companies cooperated in prioritized and job-creating areas of optimization, rehabilitation of low-efficiency wells and value chain development. We have already closed contracts with such firms and allocated facilities and support to them under the Note 18 of the Budget Law, he added.

Finalizing the oil technology ecosystem is another priority of the Ministry of Petroleum he said, adding the Ministry seeks to activate innovation centers near universities, set up knowledge-based companies and start-ups in the oil technology park and develop such parks, he said.

Providing the knowledge-based companies with facilities and support to manufacture commodities and equipment required in the oil industry with a focus on primary commodities and highly imported products is on the agenda of the Ministry of Petroleum, he noted.

Owji also stressed the need to focus on the investment and development in the oil industry and said, “the manufacturing sectors, knowledge-based companies and manufacturers will not be dynamic and the business environment in the oil industry will not improve unless investment is made. Therefore, the investment is mainly aimed to activate various contractors, manufacturers and service providers.”

Lack of resources required to develop the oil industry in recent years has not only jeopardized the sustainability of oil and gas production but also posed a threat to the country’s energy security, he said, adding, “Accordingly, investment and providing the ground for development in oil industry is a top priority.”

If investment is not made in time in the oil industry, we will undoubtedly face a deficit in the production and consumption of energy in the country, so we have developed various programs to seek investment in different sectors of this major industry.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum has managed to sign 50 agreements and memoranda of understanding, worth over 16.7 billion dollars, in the first nine months of the 13th government through deploying the potential of large oil and petrochemical holdings and banks, as well as negotiating with reputable international companies, he said. These projects mainly focus on the development of the joint oil and gas fields, flare gas collection, development of the refinery value chain, as well as utilizing the potential of knowledge-based companies and domestic manufacturers.

According to the principled and macro policies of the government, our priority will be the completion of unfinished projects, Owji said, “In this regard, we are trying to complete 48 large and prioritized unfinished projects in the oil industry by the end of this year through $13 billion investment. This year, 25 large projects will be launched with an investment of $30 billion.

These projects focus on increasing oil and gas production from joint fields, ensuring the country’s energy security, using the potential of knowledge-based companies, creating job opportunities and completing the value chain in oil industry’s upstream sector such as development of oil and gas fields and in downstream sectors including transmission lines, petrochemical projects and construction of new petro-refineries.

On sanctions, the Minister of Petroleum said confronting sanctions and strong energy diplomacy are among the top priorities of the ministry, adding in the current circumstances, Iran’s oil industry is on the economic front line and confrontation with enemies.

Noting that the exhibition is a manifestation of the capability and authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the current situation, he added, “Despite the sanctions, domestic capacities in all fields including equipment manufacturing, design and engineering, contracting and execution of projects are growing. And, they are hopefully planning for the future which is a sign of the failure of sanctions policy.

Sanctions have failed to stop the development of our oil industry and exports, he continued, “we have been able to diversify our market, increase oil exports and facilitate our financial venues which raised our revenues remarkably.”

According to the organizations such as the Planning and Budget Organization, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance as well as the Central Bank of Iran, Ministry of Petroleum has managed to fully fulfil its commitments and revenue obligations, particularly in oil and gas condensates exports, as it set up in Iran’s last year Budget Law.

Participation of 44 foreign companies in Iran Oil Show is a manifestation of the importance and priority of energy diplomacy and foreign interactions in this industry, he said. “We have activated energy diplomacy to attract foreign investment, especially from friend nations, and signed important contracts and agreements in this regard.

“As there is a huge need to invest in the oil industry, we welcome all investors from neighboring countries in various sectors of the Iranian oil industry. Investors are well aware that how profitable it will be to invest in this sector given the global energy crisis and the dramatic increase in energy demand.

Fortunately, we have managed to sell oil and receive its revenues through the active energy diplomacy in recent months despite the tightening of sanctions,” he said. Moreover, there have been grounds for Iran’s return to energy trade of the region through gas swap, finding new market for oil, oil by-products, and petrochemical products as well as the export of technical engineering services.

“Effective cooperation with countries such as Latin American nations, whose capacities have not been considered before, provided great opportunities for our oil industry and national economy,” Owji said. Oil industry experts have been able to get involved in offshore refineries through active energy diplomacy and new and attractive markets have been found for Iranian oil, condensates and oil by-products which have been a great success and show the Ministry’s attempt to utilize global capacities.

In the end, he thanked all those involved in holding this exhibition and the participating companies as well as the help of all institutions, Iran’s Parliament in particular, and emphasized, “If Iran’s oil industry improves, all industries, factories and the national economy will improve and create employment opportunities for young people and provide the ground for professionals to grow.”

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