Gazprom ready to invest in Iran

Gazprom's CEO has said that the Russian company is ready to participate in major oil and gas projects in Iran. This comes just days after French Total pulled out of a multi-billion dollar investment in the country.



Gazprom's chief on Sunday assured Iran that the Russian energy giant was ready to participate in major Iranian oil and gas projects, days after Total dropped out of a multi-billion dollar gas deal.


"Gazprom will be a cooperative partner for the Islamic Republic of Iran," Iranian state television quoted Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian state-controlled energy giant, as telling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting in Tehran.


It said he expressed willingness for Gazprom to participate "in big oil and gas projects; in South and North Pars, Azadegan and the Caspian Sea fields."


The head of French energy giant Total last week said it was dropping out of a multi-billion-dollar gas investment to develop phase 11 of South Pars, saying it was currently too risky politically to invest in Iran.


Western governments have pressured firms to cut their ties with Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme, which world powers fear could be aimed at seeking atomic weapons -- a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.


Iran has been looking to carry out projects with Russian or Asian firms and has also insisted it is capable of carrying out such projects with domestic help alone.


Ahmadinejad, for his part, said that Iran was "interested in expanding ties with Russia in oil and gas as far as possible," state television said.


The South Pars field in the Gulf has around 500 trillion cubic feet (14 trillion cubic metres) of gas, which represents about eight percent of world reserves.


But the lack of foreign investment has delayed the development the giant offshore field and thwarted Iran's hopes of becoming a major gas exporter.


Azadegan is Iran's biggest onshore oil field with an estimated 42 billion barrels of crude oil in place and production started in February using only Iranian firms after the Japanese partner Inpex quit the project.

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