European companies scramble for Iran oil and gas deals

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Rabi' al-Thani 04, 1435 2014-02-04

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The rush for Persian black gold is on. European business executives have made a beeline to Tehran to line up deals in the lucrative oil and gas arena with the easing of some sanctions against the Islamic Republic. While only a small fraction of sanctions have been eased, European oil executives know the rush is on. They do not wish to be left out even if the Americans--and Canadians--are absent from the scene.

Tehran, Crescent-online
Monday February 3, 2014, 8:19 EST

European businessmen with bulging briefcases are descending on Iran in what has been characterized as the new “gold rush.” They are scrambling for deals in the lucrative Iranian market following the easing of some sanctions in the wake of the implementation of Tehran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 countries.

While sanctions will be eased in small incremental steps, European companies are not waiting until all sanctions are lifted. They want to position themselves so that as soon as the opportunity presents itself, they are there to sign deals.

The European Union Council on January 20 suspended parts of its sanctions against Iran following the interim nuclear deal with Iran.

In late December, a British parliamentary delegation led by the former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw came away awe struck by the opportunities in Iran. Norman Lamont, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer exclaimed to a colleague upon return from a visit to Tehran that he was astonished at the number of German businessmen visiting Iran.

The American magazine, Foreign Policy, reports that more than 100 German companies are currently doing business in Iran. ”As these corporations flood into Iran, their new investments could inject as much as $20 billion into the Iranian economy,” the magazine reported.

The magazine described Iran's energy industry as “a potential gold mine” for European investors.

Meanwhile, an advisor to Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday (February 2) that Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to hold a conference in July to introduce new contract terms to international companies.

A number of international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum (BP), Malaysia’s Petronas and Spain’s Repsol have indicated they plan to return to Iran.

Russia’s second largest oil producer, Lukoil, France’s Total and Italy’s Eni are not far behind. They have all expressed a keen desire to resume work in Iran.

Despite its hostile attitude at the Geneva talks during the interim nuclear deal with Iran, France is also trying to strengthen its economic ties with Iran. A 140-member delegation of French businessmen is currently in Tehran to discuss possible new business ties.

The only companies missing from the scene are American and Canadian because of their governments’ hostile attitude toward Iran. Barack Obama is trying desperately hard to overcome the obstructionist Congress because he understands Iran is the new frontier not only for oil and gas riches but also for its geostrategic importance as a regional powerhouse.

The rightwing pro-zionist Harper regime is left out on the sidelines and will not even get crumbs unless it improves its manners.


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