24 October 2022 - 11:54
  • News ID: 463390
Iran Energy Diplomacy in the Land of the Rising Sun

TEHRAN (Shana) -- Javad Owji, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum, who visited Tokyo from Saturday to Wednesday, September 24-28, heading a delegation to attend several meetings and consult with Japanese majors, represented the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the state memorial ceremony of Shinzo Abe, the late president of Japan. In the visit to Japan, in addition to meeting Nishimura Yasutoshi, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi,  and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan; HE Owji also met with the CEOs of major Japanese oil and gas companies, including Toshiaki Kitamura, the CEO of Inpex, Takeshi Saito, the president of Eneos, Yamamoto, the CEO of Fuji Oil, Tramura, a member of the board of directors of the Nippon Export Investment Insurance (NEXI), Haba, the CEO of Mitsubishi Oil and Gas, and the CEO of Marubani Company, to discuss investment opportunities in the upstream and downstream sectors of Iran's oil industry, cooperation, trade of energy carriers and technology.

Iran's Role in Supplying Japan's Energy Needs

Attending Shinzo Abe's state memorial ceremony, participating in the Asia Green Growth Partnership Ministerial Meeting (AGGPM) and meeting with some large Japanese companies were among the most important plans of HE Owji during his trip to Japan. Investment in Iran and its open arms to welcome Japanese companies and investors in the oil industry, were HE Owji’s main messages to the Japanese investors during his 4-day stay in the land of the rising sun. In separate meetings he had with Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Owji emphasized Tehran’s determination to develop economic relations with Tokyo. In the meetings he emphasized that the level of economic cooperation between the two countries is not at a decent level, and expressed optimism that it would be possible to cooperate with Japanese companies in the oil, gas, refining and petrochemical sectors.

In a meeting with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, he emphasized Iran’s readiness to develop cooperation in the oil and gas sector with Japan, pointing to the good reputation of Japanese companies in Iran, and added: “Iran's oil industry will need $160 billion in the next eight years in the oil, gas, refining and petrochemical sectors.”

Stating that there is a possibility of cooperation between Iran and Japan on optimization and training under the sanctions, Owji said: “There are very high potentialities - from upstream to downstream sectors - for Japanese companies to cooperate with Iran.”

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum further stated that the heads of state of the two countries recently met in New York, he clarified: “We have examined the fields of cooperation in the meeting with Japanese companies and are trying to expand it.”

Owji added: “The Iranian people will not forget the memory of the Japanese Oil Refining Company (Idemitsu), which bought oil from Iran during the embargo on the sale of Iranian oil due to the nationalization of the oil industry.”

The Iranian energy official further said that Iran may play an important role in meeting Japan’s energy needs, adding: “The unprecedented drop and low level of trade and economic cooperation caused by the unilateral and cruel sanctions of the United States is not desirable for the two countries.”

Emphasizing that Iran welcomes cooperation with Japanese companies that have the necessary experience and technical knowledge in the field of optimizing energy consumption and reducing carbon emissions, collecting flare gases, etc., Owji said: “Any company that invests in this sector may save half of the amounts they produce.”

Cooperation even under Sanctions

Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, in this meeting, underlined the good terms between the two countries and Iran's high cultural history, and said: “Iran is an important country in the region and the world, and Japan is interested in strengthening relations with Iran.”

The Japanese official expressed regret for the withdrawal of the country from the Azadegan Field’s development project, and said: “The Japanese government has always supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and hopes that the negotiations will be concluded as soon as possible and that Japan will be able to cooperate with Iran, especially in the oil and gas sector.”

Emphasizing that Japan encourages Japanese companies to operate in Iran, Yasutoshi added: "Even during sanctions, there are good opportunities for cooperation, especially in the field of optimizing energy consumption, collecting associated gases, etc."

Stating that many Japanese companies kept their offices in Tehran and are present in Iran, he said: “This shows the importance of interaction with Iran for Japanese companies.”

In the meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also recalled that he accompanied the Prime Minister of this country, Fumio Kishida, to the New York summit, where they met with Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and emphasized: “High-ranking officials of the two countries are determined to develop cooperation.”

He added: "Over recent months, the price of oil has soared a lot and Iran has the opportunity to take maximum advantage of this situation by finalizing the negotiations."

Iran's 100% Readiness to Welcome Japanese Companies

On the sidelines of the state funeral of the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Javad Owji told in an interview with the Japanese state network (NHK), that Iran is trying to attract foreign investment without waiting for the revival of the JCPOA, saying: “Iran is 100% ready to absorb investment from Japanese companies.”

By inviting Japanese companies to expand their presence in the Iranian market, he stated: “Iran has the daily production capacity of 4 million barrels of crude oil and has been able to increase its crude oil exports rate to several countries.”

Pressure on Fossil Fuel Producers Could End in Energy Crisis: Owji

Addressing AGGPM, Owji underlined the necessity of an evolutional, fair energy transition and focus on natural gas development, adding: “In the past years, an aggressive approach to the need to quickly reduce the use of fossil fuels with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions has led to reduction in investment in fossil resources.”

He stated that with the subsidence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in global energy prices and demand, as well as geopolitical crises, the world's energy supply is facing danger in the current situation, adding: “Contrary to the expected trend in the process of aggressive energy transition and the reduction of the share of fossil fuels, the forecasts indicate that renewable energy alone will not be able to meet the growing need for global energy in the current situation and in the coming decades, and consumption of fossil fuels, especially natural gas, will experience a growing trend in the next decade; therefore, this question is raised: What should be done to provide sustainable energy security with minimum pollution and acceptable cost in this transition period?”

Iran's Great Role in Guaranteeing Global Energy Security by Relying on Huge Gas Reserves

Pointing out that different countries of the world, including energy suppliers, in the past few years, while realizing the global needs related to reducing CO2 emissions, have adopted policies to diversify their energy portfolio and reduce CO2 emissions in production processes, he stated: Success of these programs depend on active global participation, especially in the field of investment and technology.

Owji continued: “The prerequisite for this action is the acceptance of a fair and evolutional energy transition rather than adoption of aggressive policies to eliminate fossil fuels from the global energy mix. On the other hand, a fair and gradual energy transition requires avoiding forced rationing and, more importantly, active and non-discriminatory participation in the financing of CO2 emission reduction projects, especially in the field of fossil production (elimination of flaring, CCS/CCUS) with a better understanding of technology gaps, economic problems, dealing with oppressive and illegal sanctions, etc., which have trapped some countries in constant erosive crises.”

He said: “In my view, an important part of the solution to the global challenge of ensuring the world's energy security depends on paying attention to and focusing on natural gas as a clean fuel of choice for at least the next few decades, which would be able to provide a significant share of the energy needed by the world.”

Iran’s minister of petroleum stated: “According to many experts, natural gas may serve as a bridge between the era of dominance of fossil fuels and the era of superiority of renewable energies. At this critical time, Iran may play a significant role in securing the global energy security by relying on its huge natural gas reserves.”

Imposition of Sanctions on Iran Jeopardizes Global Energy Security

Owji, pointing out that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with more than 33 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, is the second largest natural gas country in the world and has set a production record of 1 billion cubic meters per day, which puts the country third in the world in terms of daily production volume, further stated: “This is despite the fact that Iran's natural gas production prospects have a great capacity to increase, thanks to vast untapped regions and many untapped fields. These advantages, along with Iran's strategic position in accessing various markets and neighbors with rich oil and gas resources, confirm the influential role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the future of the energy security of regional countries and of course the world.”

Emphasizing that the unilateral and oppressive sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the holder of the largest oil and gas reserves and the world's most important energy producer, have jeopardized the energy security of the world and the region, HE Owji said: “Although the sanctions have made it a challenge for Iran to realize its massive oil and gas production and export capacities and to play an effective role in the regional and global energy supply chains, over the past years, despite all the restrictions, the country has made significant achievements in various oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.”

Collective Efforts Needed for Realization of Low-Carbon Economic Development

Emphasizing that the realization of low-carbon economic development in the world and achieving the goals and prospects of this summit requires the cooperation of all countries, including developed and developing countries, and all producers and consumers of fossil energy, he said: “What is certain is the issue of energy transition and although the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels has been pursued more seriously over recent years, it seems that there is a long way ahead for the full realization of the goals at the country level, and in this regard, it is inevitable to pay attention to the level of economic development of countries in determining their duties and obligations.”

Owji, in his closing remarks, proposed that the following could be taken into account in order to bolster ties between fossil fuel producing and consuming countries: paying attention to natural gas and focusing on it as a clean and low-cost fuel, unhindered access to financial resources and technology without discrimination and sanctions due to the global effects caused by restrictions on the implementation of plans concerning global energy security and reducing  rate of emissions, revising the energy investment portfolio, especially by giving priority to increasing gas production, eliminating flaring and improving energy efficiency, cooperation in developing and promoting technologies necessary to jack up energy efficiency, smart grids and energy storage and collection of flare gases, cooperation and interaction in line with the commercialization of the hydrogen economy, creating innovative technology parks (ITP) in order to share knowledge among projects, discuss and exchange information, cooperate in clean fuel development projects, standards and implement relevant market development models, holding continuous and targeted events to identify problems and to identify solutions and policy and developing a plan for the development of multilateral cooperation between major fossil energy consumers and producers with the aim of curbing carbon emission during the energy transition era.

While welcoming the presence of international companies possessing capital and technical know-how in the field of enhancing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, from the development of clean and renewable energies, energy storage in Iran, he said: “Without international cooperation in the evolutional reduction of CO2 emissions and if the current aggressive approach of not paying attention to the interests of fossil fuel producers in the energy transition process continues, the world will undoubtedly face a crisis in energy supply and access in the next decade.”

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News ID 463390


Your Comment

You are replying to: .
0 + 0 =