Iran, reliable partner for world energy supply

The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raeisi, visited China at the head of a high-ranking delegation at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in mid-February. Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji was accompanying the president. During the three-day visit, 20 documents of cooperation were signed between the two nations in various sectors. Raeisi highlighted Iran’s huge oil and gas reserves, saying: “Iran-China partnership in maintaining energy security can help establish peace and bring about development at the regional and global levels, not to mention guarantee shared interests.”

Energy security

In a meeting with Xi, Raeisi laid emphasis on the necessity of expansion of ties between the two countries in the economic, scientific, technological and cultural sectors. He said that implementation of China-Iran Strategic Partnership Plan (CISPP) would be a key step towards peace and stability in the region.

He said that reciprocal visits by political and economic delegations were instrumental in expanding ties, adding: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to broaden ties [with China] based on mutual respect.”

The Iranian president described Iran-China ties as progressive, adding: “However, what has so far been done with regard to development of bilateral ties is far from planned. Therefore, longer steps need to be undertaken to make up for delays.”

Raeisi voiced Iran’s readiness to guarantee energy supply security, saying: “Iran will, in the long-term and in times of crisis for energy supply security, remain a reliable partner for independent nations.”

Corporate cooperation

During the Raeisi-Xi meeting, delegates from 10 Chinese firms and a number of Iranian companies exchanged views about expansion of Iran-China ties.

The president said: “In light of the agreements made during this visit, companies in both nations can take longer steps to develop cooperation in various sectors.”

Raeisi touched on Iran’s unique economic and geostrategic potential, specifically its key role in trading commodities with Central Asia, the Caucasus and Europe. “Chinese companies may benefit from these capacities for the exchange of commodities and also for investment.”

He welcomed the activity of Chinese firms in investment and transfer of technology, saying: “China’s advancements in modern technologies alongside development and progress of knowledge-based companies in Iran have provided necessary ground for cooperation.”

He said that Iran and China could expand their already deep-seated ties through energy export, exchange of products, exchange of students, interaction between researchers and implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Investment in Iran

China’s president said implementation of CISPP would help deepen ties between Tehran and Beijing. He said his country was firmly determined to improve ties with Iran.

Xi said his government would support Chinese companies willing to invest in Iran. “The Chinese government is fully ready to expand cooperation with Iran in trade, transit and culture,” he said.

Renewables share

In a joint statement, Iran and China called for the accelerated implementation of CISPP and expansion of cooperation in trade, agriculture, industrial, renewables and infrastructure sectors among others.

The two sides agreed on holding the 18th Iran-China Joint Economic Committee in Tehran this year.

The Chinese side appreciated Iran’s active participation in China’s international fairs, saying it remained open to Iranian companies’ attendance in future events.

China also expressed its willingness for contribution to the production of high-quality products in Iran with a view to guaranteeing sustainable trade growth and expanding exports to China. Iran offered its gratitude to China for having established the “Green Channel” to export Iranian agro food products to China.

Tehran and Beijing also agreed to communicate further in order to expand cooperation in e-commerce.

Iran and China agreed on upgrading capacities for the purpose of increasing the share of renewables in Iran, particularly in photovoltaic electricity generation.

The Iranian side warmly welcomed China’s Road and Belt Initiative, saying it would offer its support for the project.

NIOC talks

Ever since the Raeisi administration took office, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has held talks with Chinese companies.

Fereidoun Kord Zangeneh, NIOC director of investment and business, has said the 13th administration considered Russia and China as “strategic partners” when it comes to investment in Iran’s oil fields.

“We have held regular talks with China’s Sinopec about the second phase of development of the Yadavaran field for a $3 billion buyback deal, which resulted in the finalization of technical agreements and issuance of permits. Chinese companies have never officially pulled out of Iran,” he said.

“Notwithstanding sanctions, NIOC, following CISPP, continues to negotiate with public and private companies in China for the development of the Yadavaran field and other joint fields in Iran,” he added.

Yadavaran 2nd phase

Kord Zangeneh recalled that the first phase of development of the Yadavaran oil field came online by Sinopec in 2016 with an output capacity of 110,000 b/d. “Sinopec was expected to operate the second phase too, but the then minister of petroleum suspended the talks. Therefore, over the past year, NIOC has held regular talks with Chinese companies for the development of oil and gas fields.”

He mentioned Sinopec had never said it would not cooperate in the development of Yadavaran, adding: “The NIOC team negotiating with Sinopec is looking for new approaches for this company’s investment in the Yadavaran field.”

He said that Yadavaran was one of the NIOC’s priority projects, adding: “Early production from Yadavaran is in line with China’s plan. Some of my colleagues in subsidiary companies have had talks with the Chinese side. But everything is coordinated by NIOC because confidential talks are under way between the two companies.”

He said that integrating development of the Azadegan field, as well as development of jointly-owned oil fields with Iraq was among the topics of talks with Sinopec.

“Now that partners in the consortium to develop this field have been determined, NIOC, as the client, has called on Sinopec to be involved as investor in this field,” said Kord Zangeneh.

Financing LNG

Kord Zangeneh said NIOC was in talks to benefit from China-Iran credit line for developing joint oil fields. “During our latest talks with one of China’s major companies, it agreed to invest in Iran’s LNG at a 3/1 share.”

He also said that oil-for-goods scheme was being discussed by NIOC and Chinese companies.

“In order to purchase goods inside or outside of the country, NIOC standards need to be respected. If we arrive at our desired results in the talks, we will definitely benefit from this potential to attract investment in the petroleum industry,” said Kord Zangeneh.

Investment in Mahshahr

Following Raeisi’s visit to China, a Chinese delegation visited the Mahshahr Special Economic Petrochemical Zone to examine infrastructure for a possible $50 million investment in a sulfur carbon production plant. The visit was done in line with CISPP provisions.

Mahshahr is Iran’s first petrochemical hub whose infrastructure is attractive to investors.

News ID 470523


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