Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh called on Saturday, November 10 for foreign investment in the country's natural gas sector.
"Iran welcomes all direct foreign investment, notably in the field of production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is ready to protect foreign capital," Zangeneh said at a conference on gas and its resources in the Middle East." He said Iranian gas exports to Turkey should begin soon.
Iran and Turkey signed in August 1996 a $20-billion contract to deliver 192 billion cubic meters (6.7 trillion cubic feet) of Iranian gas to Turkey over 22 years.
Last year, they extended the contract to 25 years and the volume of exports to 228 billion cubic meters (7.9 trillion cubic feet). But the flow of gas, which was set to start in 1999, has not yet begun, for reasons never explained. Zangeneh told the conference that the construction of pipelines remains the priority for shipping gas to neighboring countries and other markets, including the Far East.
Iran wants to stretch its production from 300 million cubic meters (10.5 billion cubic feet) to 500 million cubic meters (17.5 billion cubic feet) by 2005 for gas deals expected to be signed by year's end in the Gulf, Zangeneh said.
Iran is estimated to have some 26 trillion cubic meters (910 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, or some 18 percent of the world's reserves, the second largest in the world after Russia. The meeting gathered experts and representatives from oil firms, including TotalFinaElf and BP. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )