Report: Foreign Firms Banned In Iranian Petrochemical Sector
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 | 00:00
Iran has banned business with foreign companies involved in its refinery sector, the Islamic Republic's Mehr news agency reported.
Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi reportedly ordered the National Iranian Oil Production and Distribution Company on Monday to stop issuing licenses to foreign companies interested in developing domestic petrochemical projects in Iran.
He called on the state-owned oil company to utilize local expertise and indigenous technology.
Although the Minister cited failure of several companies to conform to their contractual obligations as the reason for the ban, it is seen as Tehran's retaliatory measure for the recent tough U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil sector, and EU ban on oil import from that country.
Mehr quoted Qasemi as saying that foreign firms such as France's Accent Oil And Gas Corp., UK's Cross & Simon, The Start, UOP LLC, and SW companies, and British-Dutch Shell, which held licenses for developing refinery projects in Iran, were among the defaulters.
The head of the National Petrochemical Company had claimed last month that up to one fourth of the parts used in the domestic oil industry are produced in Iran, which heavily depends on foreign technology and expertise to develop its vast unexplored oil fields.
Confining access to Iran's refinery sector to domestic players comes at a time an estimated 500 trillion rials (about $41 billion) of investment is needed for the oil industry's infrastructure to achieve the goals of the 20-year economic outlook plan.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official said EU sanctions on Tehran were beneficial as they would reduce Iran's imports, increase the sales of domestic products and would boost employment.
Brigadier-General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran's Basij Force, said on Monday that the European import ban would affect only 18 percent of its oil sales, and the consequent rise in global oil prices would add to its revenues, which in turn would make up for the forced demand cut caused by the sanctions.
Source: RTT News
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