Iran: Western Oil Majors Meet with Government in Tehran

Representatives from several Western oil majors including Royal Dutch Shell and Eni recently held meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran. The meetings are the first of their kind following the tentative Iranian nuclear framework deal, and demonstrate the existing level of interest in the Iranian nuclear program. According to Shell representatives, the recent meetings revolved around outstanding debt owed by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for crude that was extracted and not paid for, and did not concern specifics of future deals, as such negotiations could contravene existing sanctions.

The optimism surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, while still present, has lessened some due to conflicting reports of Iran backpedaling on the terms of the initial framework deal. Iran’s capacity for crude development is nonetheless immense, constituting approximately 4.4 million b/d by 2025 according to a forthcoming report by Wood Mackenzie. The Iranian oil ministry is making an effort to coax foreign groups interested in the country into exploring interests there, although given the uncertainy surrounding the nuclear program it remains unlikely that foreign firms will invest without some assurance that sanctions relief is imminent.

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