Sunday, August 7, 2011

Iran's oil minister seeks £24 billion to develop shared fields -- Independence from western investment grows

Iran will need some $40 billion (24 billion pounds) this year to spur the development of oil and gas fields it shares with neighbouring countries, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said in his first interview since being appointed to the post, published on Saturday.

Qasemi, a Revolutionary Guards commander, was given a vote of confidence in parliament on Wednesday, vowing to prioritise jointly owned fields, notably the giant South Pars gas reservoir in the Gulf where Qatar has leapt ahead of Iran in developing the valuable resource they share.

"In order to launch the announced development plans (on the joint fields) there is need for more than $40 billion in investment in the current (Iranian) year (ending late March 2012)," Qasemi said in an interview with Iran, a state-owned daily newspaper.

Qasemi, who formally began his new job on Saturday, joined the government after heading Khatam al-Anbia, the Revolutionary Guards' construction and engineering company, which has become increasingly active in Iran's energy sector, stepping in to replace foreign companies that pulled out due to sanctions.

While Iran might seek foreign capital to finance energy projects, it did not need foreign know-how, he said.

"There are currently very competent contractors domestically on which we can rely for the development of oil and gas can be done ... For the development of oil and gas fields we don't need foreign contractors." (more)