I’ve discussed before how one out-of-the-way nation is shaping up as a major petroleum opportunity. And this week we got confirmation that some important global players are moving to capitalize.
The place is Iran. Where officials this week met with government counterparts from Germany — for the expressed purpose of discussing cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, and Germany’s energy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, met yesterday in Berlin. With the Iranian minister saying that “investments in Iranian oil and gas projects” were one of the primary topics of discussion — along with German involvement in the sale and purchase of petrochemicals.
As Iran’s Zanganeh summed up, “We are trying to prepare the basis for better cooperation when sanctions are lifted.”
Germany declined to officially comment on the meetings. But it appears the discussions represent one of the first high-level attempts by a Western government to initiate involvement in the Iranian petroleum sector.
Of course, there’s still some steps to go before such investments could be consummated. With a June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the West being one of the major hurdles.
Both sides however, seem to be getting ready to run with new projects should a deal be reached. In fact, Iran’s energy delegation was in Berlin this week to attend a major oil and gas conference — a further sign that the government is pushing for Western involvement in its oil and gas industry.
The prize in Iran justifies the enthusiasm. As minister Zanganeh pointed out, the country is in the world’s top five in terms of petroleum reserves — and yet only produces the same amount of oil as a lesser player like Azerbaijan.
All of which strongly suggests there’s a lot of new production to be won here. Watch for the outcome of the June 30 negotiation deadline — and any moves by Western petro-players soon afterward.
Here’s to a road movie to Berlin,
By Dave Forest