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18

Dailycalls for thorough investigation into buy back deals


Tehran, `Tehran Times' in its opinion column on Monday called for a thorough investigation into the buy back deals reached between the Iranian oil ministry and foreign oil companies during the
recent years.
The English-language paper was criticizing the oil Minister Bijan
Namdar Zanganeh for retracking his about informing the general public
about the oil deals, since he believed, "publication of the text of
the oil deals was not in the interests of the nation."
This is while the minister had recently announced at a recent
press conference that he would inform the public of the nature of
these agreements, noted the paper.
What the official has however failed to remember is that
"transparency in transmitting information to the public", is one of
the major factors in serving national interests and promoting the
country's development, stressed the paper.
And since the oil issue enjoys a high status in the country's
economy, it is therefore naturally influenced by political
consideration, it said noting that this very reason has made the buy
back deals a "target of political factors and considerations."
In this view, it is not surprising that the "minister has changed
his mind overnight about publishing the text of such agreements,"
added the article.
What is noteworthy of criticism in this regard is that the buy back
deals have not been thoroughly supervised during the past four years,"
it regretted, pointing out that these agreements have mostly aimed to
develop new gas and oil fields in the country rather than streamlining
those already in operation.
But "considering that Iran has been required to lower its oil
production in order to comply with the quota fixed by the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), it is not clear why the Oil
Ministry officials have been trying to increase Iran's oil production
capacity through these agreements with foreign companies," criticized
the daily.
Although, increase in potential production capacity could be prove
to be beneficial to the country in the long run, "the cost and price
the country is asked to pay for it today must be made clear," pointed
out the paper.
Above all else, the buy back deals have been criticized because
they have completely ignored the indigenous work force and have given
priority to foreign contractors.
But the reality on the ground is that "none of the foreign
contractors are actually present at the oil and gas fields, as they
relegate the work to Iranian companies and transfer no cutting-edge
technology into this country," noted the paper.
This way, the article pointed out, the foreign contractors pocket
most of the profits while the Iranians land up doing most of the work.
It is for this reason that the Oil Ministry should be taken to
task for not entering into contracts with Iranian companies that are
doing the actual work in developing the new oil and gas fields,
advised the paper.
It urged all the relevant organizations, particularly the Majlis
o conduct a thorough investigation into the buy back deals reached
between the Oil Ministry and foreign companies during the recent
years.

irna.com