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Iran, Russia Ink Oil-for-Goods Barter Deal: Minister

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

Iran Inaugurates New Hydropower Plant

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

Iran Building 2 Sports Arenas in Iraq

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

<div>'The Silk Road: Glorious Past and Even Brighter Future'</div>

The road he traveled was the original ancient Silk Road and ever since then, the two civilizations of China and Persia had been interlinked with each other.

Later on, Persian artists and craftsmen together with Iranian products reached China by horses and camels through this road and merchant ships loaded with Chinese goods started to dock at the Port of Hormuz of Iran. This was a historic picture of mutual learning and friendly exchanges, and numerous touching stories of bilateral interactions had been passed on from generations to generations.

Nowadays, great changes are taking place along the ancient Silk Road. Chinese President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping in 2013 put forward the initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the B&R Initiative), calling upon countries along the B&R to build a community of shared interests and common destiny together, thus injecting new vitality to the B&R.

Since the launching of the Initiative over three years ago, tangible progress has been made. Many countries, including Iran, have voiced support to this Initiative. By focusing on policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, the participating countries have deepened their cooperation in all these aspects and a series of early harvest have been achieved. The financing mechanism is functioning, the infrastructure connectivity is taking shape, the industrial capacity cooperation is accelerating, the construction of economic corridors is moving forward, the volume of trade and investment is growing rapidly, and people-to-people exchanges are further deepening. These achievements have laid a solid basis for the further progress of the Initiative.

For centuries, Iran has been one of the most important traffic hubs and trading centers along the B&R. Located at the conjunction of the B&R, Iran enjoys an outstanding geo-strategic position. Since the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between P5+1 and Iran in 2016, the internal and external environment of Iran has improved a lot, which provides a better condition for the cooperation between China and Iran.

As a Chinese saying goes, real friends feel close even when they are far apart. For a long time, China and Iran have maintained a friendly relationship. In January 2016, Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Iran and leaders of the two countries reached a series of important consensuses on strengthening bilateral ties. Chinese Vice Premier Madam LIU Yandong and Defense Minister General CHANG Wanquan visited Iran subsequently, and Iranian Economy Minister Mr. Ali Tayebnia and the Foreign Minister Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif visited China, aiming to implement the outcomes of President Xi’s visit and deepening bilateral cooperation in all areas.

For eight consecutive years, China remained as the biggest trading partner of Iran. Chinese and Iranians companies are now cooperating in many fields such as energy, transportation, machinery, metallurgy, hydro-power, electricity, telecommunication, construction materials, and automobile. The construction of the Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed railway is underway, the Tehran-Mashhad railway modernization project is about to commence, the new line of Tehran metro goes smoothly, and the Yiwu-Tehran direct cargo train has made its initial voyage. Two important oil projects, namely the North Azadegan Project of the CNPC and the Yadavaran Project of the SINOPEC, had been completed late last year and their opening ceremony was launched at the presence of H.E. President Hassan Rouhani. Moreover, the CNPC and the NIOC had signed a new head agreement for the development of South Pars gas field. Nowadays, more and more Chinese companies are opening a business in Iran and the Chinese-funded R&D parks and automobile industry zones are in operation. Chinese trademarks, such as HUAWEI and CHERY are now enjoying great popularity in Iran. The exchanges between various circles of Chinese and Iranian society are also on the rise.

“There is a road communing different hearts”, says an ancient Iranian proverb. The people-to-people exchange between China and Iran is gathering pace. In late April this year, Madam LIU Yandong, Chinese Vice Premier, paid a successful visit to Iran and exchanged views on technological, educational and cultural cooperation with her Iranian counterpart H.E. Sorena Sattari, Vice President of Iran. The Confucius Institute at the Tehran University attracts a lot of Iranian college students to learn Chinese language and it’s no longer surprising to hear a flawless pronounced “Ni Hao” (“hello” in Chinese) when strolling along the streets of Tehran today. The celebrations of “Happy Chinese New Year & Happy Iranian Nowruz” had been organized for five consecutive years by the Chinese Embassy together with Iran-China Friendship Association and received huge attendance from the local community. Last August, China for the first time held in Tehran a series of cultural events focusing on Xinjiang, China. In March this year, the 2018 World Cup Qualifier in Asia between China and Iran wrapped up in Tehran, where the Chinese and Iranian national team jointly presented a wonderful football match for an audience of more than 100 thousand fans and numerous TV viewers.

The B&R cooperation between China and Iran enjoys a bright future. We will work together to create a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road with Iranian counterparts. Several days ago, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. Distinguished guests from various countries, including Iran, drew up the blueprint for future cooperation. I strongly believe that cooperation between China and Iran will be inspired and promoted by this magnificent event.

By: Pang Sen, Chinese ambassador to Iran

This article was originally appeared on Tehran Times on May 22.

Iran-EU Trade Turnover Jumps by 265% in 3 Months

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

IME holds annual general meeting

TEHRAN, May 27 (MNA) – Holding the IME’s annual general meeting, its shareholders approved its performance and new BOD Members were elected.

According to the report by the IME’s International Affairs and PR, during the IME’s annual general meeting which was held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Niroo Research Institute Conference Hall, after presenting the board of directors’ report for the year 1395 hijri (2016-2017) and explaining the IME’s highlights and developmental practices over the year by Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad, the CEO of IME, the financial statements, independence auditor’s report and explanatory notes were presented and it was announced that the IME's financial position, over 1395 and its financial performance and cash flows for the fiscal year, in terms of all important aspects and in accordance with accounting standards is desirable.

Moreover, the IME’s annual general meeting approved a 150 riyals dividend per share.  Also, over the meeting, Behrad Moshar Auditory Firm was chosen as the independent auditor and legal inspector and Ettelaat Newspaper as well as donya-e-eqtesad Newspaper as the government gazette.

At the end of the meeting, shareholders approved by majority the election of new members of IME’s Board of Directors, so that representatives of Isfahan Steel Company, Tamin Petroleum & Petrochemical Investment Company (TAPICO), Mobarakeh Steel Company, Agricultural Bank Brokerage, National Development Investment Group, Mellat Brokerage Firm, Mehr Ayandegan ( Naft Fund) were elected as board members.

IME’s Highlights in previous year (ended March 20)

On the IME’s annual general meeting, CEO of IME announced that the total value of IME in 1395 hit 817,000 billion Rials (approximately 23.3 billion USD) and experienced a significant growth of %73.

Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad pointed to IME’s strategic practices on the spot and futures market and expressed that over 1395 hijri trade value of the IME’s spot market reached 371,000 billion Rial, facing 25% growth. He said that in the metal and mineral trading floor in addition to iron ore, its products also were listed and offered in the domestic market.

He added that over 1395 hijri the transaction of oil and petrochemical products experienced %26 growth in trade volume and %34 growth in trade value, breaking a record in trade value and volume for petrochemical products over 1395 hijri.

He said that the ratio of trade volume to offer volume for petrochemical products increased from %49 to %67. Furthermore, the long-term contracts and retail transactions for these commodities were launched and National Competition Council announced its final decision regarding the continuity of offering of petrochemical products in IME.

Meanwhile, CEO of IME referred to status of trading agricultural commodities over 195 hijri in IME and stated that trade value and volume of agricultural commodities witnessed growth of %229 and %199, respectively, and 422,000 MT of wheat were traded on this market. Also, over that last year, the guaranteed price plan was implanted for feed barley and maize from all over the country as well as trading pistachio in this exchange. Technical Inspection and listing 73 warehouses for maize and feed barley as well as collaboration with poultry market players in order to complete supply chain for poultry products in IME are among the other IME’s practices in agricultural commodities market.

Afterward, CEO of IME pointed to IME’s initiations in derivatives market and explained that in the derivatives market important measures have been taken in IME leading to an unprecedented record in 4 years for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trade volume of gold coin futures contract.

In addition, call and put options contracts were launched and the required instructions for the contracts and their collaterals were prepared. Also, instructions regarding listing commodity based exchange traded funds (ETFs) were reformed and administrative regulation for launching and trading commodity based funds were developed and approved by the board of director.

According to the Soltaninejad, evaluating oil and petrochemical products to be listed in futures market, conducting feasibility studies, specifications and prospectus of futures contracts on bitumen, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), as well as maize and saffron are among other measures of IME in the derivatives market.

Pointing to IME’s achievements in certificates of depositary receipts (CDRs), Soltaninejad said that that launching online trading system for trading certificates of depositary receipts, a %185 growth in trade value of CDRs, launching CDRs on saffron as well as launching continuous trading for maize on the domestic production are among the most important achievements of IME in this market.

He outlined the other initiations as signing MoU with Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization and the Investment Guarantee Fund for, Pakistan Mercantile Exchange, Mellat Bank, Iran Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (ICDX).

IME’s Priorities in the present year (began March 21)

IME’s CEO, on this meeting, pointed to the exchange’s hopeful events over the year 1396 hijri and said: launching derivatives market on foreign currencies, trading options contracts on maize and feed barley, launching online trading system for options contracts, trading forwards contracts and commodity swaps, bitumen futures contracts, lunching commodity based funds are among the IME’s priorities in 1396 Hijri.

HA/PR

Crude prices to grow in coming days

Crude prices to grow in coming days - Mehr News Agency

Oil min.:

بیژن نامدار زنگنه وزیر نفت TEHRAN, May 27 (MNA) – Iranian Petroleum Minister Zanganeh has maintained that crude oil prices in international markets will surge in the days to come.

Following 172nd Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the 2nd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on May 25 in Vienna, Austria, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said no power could force Iran to cap its crude output and any decline in the country’s oil production can take place only through agreements and the country’s will.

He described the 172nd meeting as peaceful since all members shared views which led to facile decision making in accordance with market expectations.

The official said the downfall in global crude prices following the OPEC’s meeting in Vienna had come as a shock to him though he expressed hope that, the will of OPEC members will help lift up oil prices in the near future.

He also appreciated collaboration of non-OPEC members with the 13-nation oil cartel which has been more fruitful than primary expectations. Zanganeh recalled that OPEC and non-OPEC members had remained 100% and 90% committed to the November 30 oil cut deal.

On the possibility for crude prices to remain in 55 to 60 dollars per barrel if the same trend is pursued, the official said decisions are made based on market analysis and conditions though psychological aspects could also play a role. “All in all, the decision to reduce crude output should logically increase modify global prices.”

The Iranian oil minister went on to voice the Oil Ministry’s readiness to bolster relations with large and credible oil companies, including American ones, since Iran has always issued message of peace and friendship to its neighbors and to the world.

On other sectors of the oil industry, Bijan Zanganeh said gas output levels are satisfactory as significant measures have been taken and importance projects have become implemented.

HA/3989047

Industry min. calls for attention to global food markets

Industry min. calls for attention to global food markets - Mehr News Agency نعمت زاده TEHRAN, May 27 (MNA) – Iranian Industry Minister Nematzadeh said, in order to develop activities in food industries, due attention needs to be paid to international markets.

He urged paroducers and manufacturers to take up a special look towards global markets o food industries saying “of course, domestic products and machineries have made considerable progress over recent years.”

“Appropriate growth has been observed in products, processes, equipment and material,” highlighted the official stressing that all economic activists need to make further efforts to boost their presence in foreign markets.

Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh noted that over 12,000 units were active in the country’s food industries which offered best quality products.

Iran needs to become a large exporter of food products, highlighted the official saying that, to this end, we can rely on the wide variety of products inside the country as key to success in international markets.

He also emphasized the need to consume domestic products calling on people to provide necessary support for Iranian industries.

As regards industrial machines, the same belief should hold true that domestic machinery knowhow needs to be exploited as much as possible unless one item is only available in foreign markets.

Referring to packaging industries, Nematzadeh deemed them as complementary to food industries explaining “packaging sector holds great significance in that food industries are vulnerable.”

Fortunately, Iran enjoys suitable conditions in packaging arenas both in terms of raw materials and equipment which will hopefully develop on a day to day basis.

HA/3989101

Iran exports 200k tons of flour

Iran exports 200k tons of flour - Mehr News Agency wheat TEHRAN, May 24 (MNA) – Deputy agriculture minister has reported on exports of 200 thousand barrels of flour to regional and European countries.

Deputy Minister of Agricultural for Commercial and Agricultural Industries Ali Akbar Mehrfard said it was the first time for Iran to deploy wheat and flour to international markets adding “special facilities have been created for exports of surplus wheat which kicked off three months ago.”

Mehrfard described food industry as one of the most important industries in the export markets adding “Ministry of Agriculture seeks to expand storage of products from the farm to domestic and foreign markets in line with policies of Resistance Economy.”

“The objectives are expected to become fulfilled by the end of the Sixth National Development Plan in a bid to create production chains,” he continued.

Deputy Iranian agriculture minister said food and agriculture products of Iran are exported to more than 30 world countries and the possibility exists now to sell products to Russia and Eurasian countries thanks to creation of transport and cooling infrastructures.

Self-sufficiency in wheat production, a long-held dream of Iranian farmers and workers, came true in the previous Iranian calendar year. In addition to supplying domestic demand, even three million tons of the product can now be exported abroad. Approximately 13 to 14 million tons of wheat are expected to be produced in the present Iranian year.

HA/3987369

Annual shrimp production to hit 30k tons

Annual shrimp production to hit 30k tons - Mehr News Agency میگو TEHRAN, May 24 (MNA) – Secretary General of Iran's Fisheries Union Ali Akbar Khodaei estimated that approximately 30 thousand tons of shrimp will be produced in the current year (began March 21).

The official made the remarks recalling that in the previous Iranian calendar year, a total of 21 thousand tons of shrimp had been produced 14 thousand tons of which had been deployed to international markets.

Khodaei, while estimating that the country will produce about 30,000 tons of the product, said shrimp harvest will kick off in one month’s time in Hormozgan Province.

He went on to estimate that, unlike the last year’s export figure which stood at 14 thousand tons, around 21 thousand tons of shrimp will be exported in the present year.

As such, volume of shrimp export is expected to climb by 9,000 tons, said the official expressing hope that the over output level will exceed the estimated figure of 30 thousand tons.

On exports to the Russian Federation, Iran's Fisheries Union head said sales of fisheries to Russia are being conducted similar to the past in that they have a slow but natural pace.

“Nevertheless, Iran’s ties with the Eurasian country become closer every year,” underlined Khodaei.

He said major export destinations for the Iranian shrimp included Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and China, Arabic neighbors, especially the UAE, European Union countries and Russia.

HA/3986977

Tehran, Muscat after stronger banking ties

Tehran, Muscat after stronger banking ties - Mehr News Agency ولی الله سیف TEHRAN, May 23 (MNA) – In a bid to boost bilateral banking relations, Iran and Oman have reached a number of agreements including connection of bank payment systems of both sides.

Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Valiollah Seif made a visit to Oman on Monday during which both sides reached various agreements to bolster joint banking collaborations one being linking of switch systems.

Leading a high-ranking banking delegation to Muscat, Valiollah Seif made the visit in order to follow up earlier agreements reached during earlier visit of President Rouhani to the Persian Gulf littoral state.

Hamoud bin Senghor al-Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), and CBI Governor Seif, at a joint meeting, assigned representatives to the joint committee and made an agreement over connection of bank payment systems so that owners of Iranian and Omani credit cards will be able to use ATMs in both countries.

It was also agreed that braches of Bank Saderat Iran and Bank Melli Iran based in Oman become activated. In the same line and with the aim of promoting bilateral trade between the two sides, it was agreed that broker relations between commercial banks be developed.

It is worth mentioning that holding training courses in Islamic banking, treasury and foreign exchange arenas were among other achievements of the visit.

On the basis of the reached agreements between heads of Iranian and Omani central banks, technical directors of the two countries are supposed to discuss technical issues within a month and offer appropriate recommendations for settlement existing concerns to the joint banking working group by the end of the month.

CBI Governor Seif was accompanies by a number of CEOs of public and private banks in his one-day trip to Oman.

HA/3986477

Iran’s share of Russian food market unsatisfactory: official

Iran’s share of Russian food market unsatisfactory: official - Mehr News Agency اقتصاد TEHRAN, May 23 (MNA) – Head of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi has criticized low volume of trade between Iran and Russia as compared to neighboring states.

A meeting of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber was held in Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) with a focus on barriers to food exports to Russia.

Asgaroladi, while pointing to good political ties between Tehran and Moscow, said Russia in the largest consumer of food products in East European countries and conducts imports from across the world while Iran enjoys an unsatisfactory position among food exporters to the Eurasian country.

The official referred to Iran’s good economic relations with its 15 neighbors asserting that the lowest volume of exchanges belongs to Russia.

He said ascribing the low figure in trade turnover to sanctions was a mere excuse since no limitations exist now except for banking issues; “Russians themselves seem to have decided not to purchase more items from Iran.”

Asadollah Asgaroladi went on to enumerate obstacles to expansion of trade ties with Russia including banking, financial, transport and visa issuance issues.

The head of Iran-Russia chamber touched upon his recent visit to Russia saying “owner of a chain market told me that packaging of Iranian products enjoyed a lower quality than that of fruits of other countries.”

Russian trade representative in Iran Andrei Lugansky, who is also a member of the joint Chamber, deemed international sanctions as a major reason to the fall in Tehran-Moscow trade turnover.

Iran and Russia share similar structures the only difference being that the Russian one is larger, he noted. “Food distribution mechanisms in Russia are however completely different from Iranian ones as only chain markets exist in the Eurasian country.”

“Despite Russia’s eagerness, we cannot enter into contracts with Iranian partners since they are scattered and no single large company exists with which we can launch negotiations,” Lugansky stressed.

He further recalled the instance of purchasing 50 thousand tons of tomatoes from a large Turkish holding in 2015 noting that Iranians need to be capable of supplying massive volumes of food products.

HA/3986154

Iran follows up technical projects in Iraq

Iran follows up technical projects in Iraq - Mehr News Agency مجتبی خسروتاج TEHRAN, May 22 (MNA) – Head of Iran’s TPO has travelled to Iraq to pursue progress of technical and engineering projects being implemented by Iranian companies in the neighboring country.

Iran is currently working on the al-Zawaraa Stadium with a capacity of 12,500 people as well as the 60,000-seat Altajyat stadium project in Baghdad which are approximately 41% and 30% through, respectively. The railway project between Hejama and Sava is also under construction by Iranian engineering firms.

At joint meetings between Head of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Mojtaba Khosrotaj and Iraqis, both sides investigated obstacles in the way of activities of companies and discussed ways to overcome barriers in order to accelerate projects.

The Iraqi Ministry of Industry possesses about 140 factories which are managed by 30 state-owned companies. To produce goods, these factories tend to supply their required materials and equipment from abroad but, due to lack of competitiveness, the need of other ministries are supplied through foreign products.

Iraq’s Deputy Commerce Minister Walid Habib al-Mousavi, at his meeting with Head of Iran’s TPO Khosrotaj, made the request for participation of Iranian companies to build concrete and medal silos as well as to reconstruct and repair Iraq’s oil silos; a proposal which was accepted by the Iranian side.

A number of industrial factories of Iraq like cable, automotive, steel, chemical, construction materials and sanitary products ones are working with Iranian materials.

During his visit to Iraq, Mojtaba Khosrowtaj also met with the minister of sport and deputy industry and commerce ministers of the neighboring country.

HA/3985555

Iranian Saman Bank opens representative office in Italy

Tehran (ISNA) - Saman Bank, a leading private Iranian lender, Wednesday announced that it has launched a representative office in Rome, Financial Tribune reported.

The lender aims to promote investment opportunities in Iran and offer banking, financial and legal consultancy services to European investors keen on doing business in Iran, said Mansour Momeni, head of Saman Bank’s public relations office.

Momeni also pointed to Saman Bank’s agreement with SACE, Italy’s state-owned export credit agency, and said, “SACE has allocated a credit line specifically to Saman Bank, which can be used by Iranian and Italian producers”.

Rome office is set to help producers use the credit line, he added. 

The agreement was signed in November 2015, during the Italian government’s business mission to Iran.

This is Saman's first representative office in Europe. The lender has reportedly shown interest in opening branches or offices in India, Turkey, and Germany.

Bank Sepah, Iranian state-owned commercial bank, also has an active branch in Rome.

Capital Intelligence Ratings, last May, affirmed Saman Bank’s Long- and Short-Term Foreign Currency Ratings (FCR) of ‘B’. The Outlook on the Bank’s Long-Term FCR was also changed to ‘Positive’ from ‘Stable’.

End Item

The first ever direct flight from Mashhad to Moscow to take place

Tehran (ISNA) – Mashhad International Airport director of public relations Hassan Jaafari announced, the first ever direct flights from Mashhad to Moscow will take place at the end of next month.

“The first ever flight in this direction will take place on June 23 at 15:30 local time to Moscow and the return flight will also take place on the same day,” Jaafari said.

“The Airbus A310 from Mahan Airline will take off every Friday from Mashhad to Moscow,” he added.

Mashhad International Airport is the Iran's second busiest airport which has flights to 27 destinations in the Central Asia, the Middle East, East Asia and Europe such as Dushanbe, Beirut, Kuwait, Najaf, Lahore, Baghdad, Delhi, Kabul, Dubai, Sharjah, Basra, Mazar-e Sharif, Muscat, Istanbul, Doha, Kandahar, Heart, Tbilisi, Adana, Yerevan, Baku, Jeddah and Medina.

End Item

Iran, Europe to build first joint petrochemical plant

Tehran (ISNA) – Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) and a European company signed an agreement worth €3 billion to build a petrochemical plant in Asaluyeh in order to produce two types of polymers for the first time in Iran, the CEO of PGPIC announced.

“These two types of polymers will be produced in Iran for the first time and they are also exclusive in international petrochemical industry level,” Adel Nejad-Salim, CEO of PGPIC said.

“Currently, the implementation process of the joint petrochemical project is in feasibility studies phase and more details about the type of partnership with the European company, production capacity and etc, will be announced following the completion of the negotiation,” he added.

According to him, it is anticipated at least €3 billion to be invested in design, construction and utilization of the joint petrochemical project.

Iran expects attracting $10 billion foreign investments in petrochemical projects.

End Item

Total plans to finalize deal with Iran before summer

TEHRAN- French oil major Total plans to conclude the Iran South Pars gas deal before summer, its chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the company's annual general meeting.

Pouyanne said the signing of U.S. sanctions waivers, among other hurdles, cleared the path for the deal to be signed, Reuters reported.

Total said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new U.S. administration renewing the waivers.

The French giant signed a deal with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for the phase 11 of developing South Pars gas field (Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf), becoming the first western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions in January 2016.

The phase 11 project will progress in two stages, the first costing an estimated $2 billion, Total said. The produced gas will be fed into Iran's gas network.

The French company has already played a key role in Iran's energy industry, including the development of phases 2 and 3 of South Pars in the 2000s, before pulling out of the country after international sanctions were imposed in 2010.

MA/MG

South Pars 2nd development stage requires $20-30b

TEHRAN- Development of South Pars gas field (in the Persian Gulf) in the second stage is estimated to require $20-30 billion fund,  Mohammad Meshkinfam, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), which is in charge of developing the gas field, told ILNA.

“It is our initial estimation of the required fund, but it depends on the type of planning and anyway we should take benefit of the foreign capabilities for the second stage”, he also noted.

He said: “We are also planning to improve domestic capabilities to become fully prepared for the implementation of the next development stage.”
South Pars is divided into 24 standard phases of development in the first stage. Most of the phases are fully operational at the moment.

The huge offshore field, shared with Qatar, covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which, called South Pars, are in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, called North Dome, are situated in Qatar’s territorial waters.
The field is estimated to contain a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world’s reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate.

MA/MG

Tehran, Damascus sign document on boosting economic co-op

TEHRAN- Iran and Syria signed a document on enforcement of economic cooperation in Damascus on Thursday, IRNA reported.

The document was penned by Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil and Head of Iran’s Expanding Economic Cooperation Committee Saieed Ohadi.

“During the held two-day meeting on increasing mutual cooperation, all the commerce and economic issues regarding the signed document as well as increasing joint investments and bilateral cooperation were explored,” Samer al-Khalil told reporters after signing the document.

He also informed that a Syrian delegation will visit Tehran next week to explore avenues of further collaboration.

According to the same report, Ohadi met the Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Minister of Tourism Bishr Riyad Yazigi on Wednesday.

HJ/MA 

Iran’s wheat production to reach 15m tons this year: USDA

TEHRAN- With a three-percent decrease, Iran’s annual production of wheat will reach 15 million tons in 2017, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasted in its latest report.

In its latest report named “Grain: World Markets and Trade”, USDA predicted that Iran will produce 15 million tons of wheat by the end of 2017, showing three percent decrease in comparison with the previous year that the figure stood at 15.5 million tons.
The country’s annual production of barely will also witness a three percent fall and will reach 2.9 million tons from 2016’s 3 million tons.
Rice production in Iran will hover around 1.78 million tons in 2017, registering no significant difference from the preceding year, the same report confirmed.

HJ/MA
 

Iran remains exempted from OPEC cuts

TEHRAN – After the 172nd official meeting of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran was once again exempted from the OPEC, non-OPEC deal to cut oil production.

The country which was allowed to increase production under the original accord, retains the same output target, Bloomberg reported quoting Kuwait’s Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq as saying. 

That deal gave the Islamic Republic room to increase output to a maximum of 3.797 million barrels a day. Nigeria and Libya will also remain exempt from making.

OPEC and its allies extended oil production cuts for nine more months after last year’s landmark agreement failed to eliminate the global oversupply or achieve a sustained price recovery.

The producer group together with Russia and other non-members agreed to prolong their accord through March, but no new non-OPEC countries will be joining the pact and there was no option set out to continue curbs further into 2018. The market was unimpressed as prices tumbled more than 5 percent to under $49 a barrel in New York and more than a billion barrels were traded.

Six months after forming an unprecedented coalition of 24 nations and delivering output reductions that exceeded all expectations, resurgent production from U.S. shale fields has meant oil inventories remain well above the level targeted by OPEC. While stockpiles are shrinking, ministers acknowledged the surplus built up during three years of overproduction won’t clear until at least the end of 2017. The group is prepared for a long game.

Al-Falih said the cuts are working, adding that stockpile reductions will accelerate in the third quarter and inventory levels will come down to the five-year average in the first quarter of next year. While he expects a “healthy return” for U.S. shale, that won’t derail OPEC’s goals and a nine-month extension will “do the trick,” he said.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee -- composed of six OPEC and non-OPEC nations -- will continue watching the market and can recommend further action if needed, said Almarzooq.

EF/MA
 

Are they lucky enough to win Iran oil deals?

After the implementation of Iran’s landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in January 2016, the Iranian oil industry has witnessed a flock of foreign companies willing to participate in different projects.

Reclaiming its share of the global oil market, Iran, once OPEC’s second-largest producer, has it on agenda to ramp up crude production especially from the fields it shares with its neighbors.

In this line, boosting production in West Karoun fields (five oilfields the country shares with Iraq at the western part of Iran’s southwestern region of Karoun) by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 300,000 bpd is the first one among 11 prioritized programs that First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri has recently tasked the Oil Ministry with implementing them by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2018).

The priority is also attached to the gas fields, especially South Pars gas field, which Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf. The field contains a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world’s reserves.

Last October, Mohammad Meshkinfam, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), which is in charge of implementing South Pars development phases, said: “Enhancing the rate of gas recovery should be launched in South Pars by the next five years. The system will be launched first in phase 11 and then it will be applied in the other phases of the field.”

The country requires foreign technology and also investment to launch such system as Meshkinfam told the Tehran Times last December: “Enhancing the rate of gas recovery from South Pars gas field through installing related installations and platforms is the main focus of POGC in attraction of foreign investment and also transfer of foreign technology to the country.”

The Oil Ministry’s main priority in implementing new upstream projects is to increase the recovery rate of fields through applying modern know-how.

To meet such priority and also for development of oil and gas fields, especially the shared ones in line with regaining the country’s share of global markets, the Islamic Republic has come to agreement with a number of domestic and foreign companies for conducting related studies on some fields.

Among the foreign companies the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with, it could be referred to Royal Dutch Shell, which signed an MOU with NIOC to conduct development studies on South Azadegan and Yadavaran oilfields (two West Karoun oilfields) and Kish gas field (near Kish Island in the Persian Gulf).

The Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company Petronas also signed an MOU with NIOC for development studies on South Azadegan and Cheshmeh-Khosh (an oilfield in west of Iran). The agreement marks a return to Iran for Petronas.

Studies on development of Cheshmeh-Khosh was also awarded to Gazprom Neft PJSC, a subsidiary of Russian oil giant Gazprom, based on an MOU which also covers studies on developing Changuleh (an oilfield in west of Iran).

The three above mentioned MOUs were signed in last December, among a number of other similar ones inked after the JCPOA.

Results of studies on 25 projects submitted

Gholamreza Manouchehri, the deputy managing director of NIOC for engineering and development affairs, announced in late February that NIOC had received results of studies on 25 projects for development of Iran’s oil and gas fields conducted by foreign companies.

He said the post-sanctions environment has laid the ground for the presence of international companies for development of Iranian industries.

In November 2015, Iran introduced its long-awaited new model of oil contracts, known as the Integrated Petroleum Contract (IPC), which will replace buy-back contracts. It is expected to offer more flexible terms on oil price fluctuations and investment risks to make the sector more financially attractive.    

The new contracts, which include those in the upstream exploration and development sectors, are expected to attract more than $40 billion in foreign investment. 

Iran has pre-qualified 29 international companies to bid for its oil and gas projects based on IPC. Anglo-Dutch Shell, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni, Malaysia’s Petronas, Russia’s Gazprom and Lukoil, Austria’s OMV, Germany’s Wintershall, as well as companies from Spain, Poland, China, Japan, India and some other countries are included in the list released in early January.

Now the question is how the companies with them Iran has signed MOUs on development studies of the fields will be lucky to win the contracts on development projects.

Asked about the issue, Mahmoud Khaqani, an international energy expert, told the Tehran Times in a telephone interview on Monday: “The fact that major oil companies, particularly French and Italian ones, will go ahead with upstream contracts with Iran, is a matter that we have to wait and see. That will be very much on what President Rouhani’s new administration’s energy policies will be.”

Macro energy policy required

“Obviously there is no macro energy policy in Iran yet. Iran does not know what percentage of its energy supply or domestic market is going to nuclear, or gas or oil. These are regrettably, to my view as an energy expert, policies which have not yet been well defined or publically defined by government in Iran which therefore makes others also be hesitant to make a final decision,” Khaqani lamented.

“Don’t forget, government’s tenure is four years in Iran and contractual agreement on upstream oil and gas production is a minimum 20-25 years period. The risk is very high. And Iran, in my opinion, for the first time now we see that those who lost the election were almost talking in the same line as those who won the election. Now they should sit together and define a national interest policy which also includes a national energy policy and that will put the people’s mind at rest to take the risk and enter into a real contractual agreement both in upstream and downstream in Iran’s petroleum and energy industry,” the energy expert commented.

 IPC framework a positive factor

Mohammad-Sadeq Jokar, a senior energy expert in the Institute for International Energy Studies (IIES), has a more optimistic view in this regard.

As he told the Tehran Times in a telephone interview on Tuesday, there are three factors which bring about more optimism about international companies’ signing deals in Iran. They are: 1- Re-election of Mr. Rouhani (who is a supporter of JCPOA) as the president 2- Trump’s changing its approach toward Iran’s nuclear deal; as his administration upheld Iran sanctions waiver, keeping nuclear deal alive and 3- Legal framework of IPC (which offers more flexibility, so is more attractive for foreigners).

The energy expert believes that while an appropriate environment has been created recently in Iran for the presence of foreign companies that could be even better, there are three factors that the Islamic Republic should notice to take the advantage of this condition.

He mentioned the first factor as ‘time’, as the country should do the right thing at the right time and prevent from waste of time. “For example when it comes to the issue of IPC, although it’s a good strategy to attract foreign companies, the process to come to the final framework has already taken about two years and in my opinion as an analyst it should have taken less time to come to result,” he explained.

He said the second one is to shed light on the country’s energy policy and remove the negative image created for example by some Arab media about Iran’s energy industry; as one of them has said that nothing positive has occurred in the Iranian energy sector after the JCPOA. So the country is required to express openly and unambiguously its status and policies in this regard.

“And the third one is that we need a comprehensive diplomacy in energy in a way that comprehensive decisions should be made for presenting Iran in the international scene,” the analyst concluded.

The optimistic viewpoint of Jokar is reinforced by the perspective of some international analysts believing that President Rouhani is in a stronger position after his re-election to push through plans for wooing foreign investors the country needs to boost oil production.

According to them, re-election of Rouhani, who delivered the nuclear deal and promised to bring in foreign investment, would suggest that there is support for things like the oil contracts.

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