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Zanganeh calls on Japanese firms to invest more in Iran's oil sector

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh here on Monday called for the Japanese companies...

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh here on Monday called for the Japanese companies to play a more active role in the implementation of the oil, gas and petrochemical projects in Iran.
In a meeting with the managers of the industrial and economic
agencies of Japan, Zanganeh welcomed a proposal put forth by the
Japanese firms willing to develop the South Pars gas oilfield and
voiced Iran's readiness to cooperate with Japan in the oil and gas
sectors at a broader level.
He referred to President Seyed Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan
last year and the agreements inked between the two sides during the
visit and stated that the said agreements could be the basis for the
future cooperation between the two countries.
Commenting on the visit to Iran of the Japanese trade minister and
the inked agreement between the Iranian and Japanese officials, he
expressed pleasure over the bolstered bilateral cooperation in the
energy sector between the two states.
He was also pleased over a plan designed to develop the Azadegan
oilfield with the cooperation of Japan which he said would bring
outstanding results in the long run.
Iran and Japan agreed on July 9 to conclude a contract on a
Japanese-led consortium's plan to develop Iran's Azadegan Oil Field in
a bid to realize commercial production in 2004. The agreement came in
a joint statement issued after visiting Japanese Trade Minister Takeo
Hiranuma's meetings with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Oil
Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
With the statement calling for promoting wider participation by
Japanese concerns in Iran's energy development, the two countries also
confirmed their support for such involvement in the South Pars Gas
Field, one of the world's largest, and the Ahwaz-Bangestan Oil Field
in western Iran, which are being developed mainly by European
The two countries also agreed to begin research toward having
Japanese companies participate in 'downstream' oil businesses such as
processing liquefied natural gas, and to launch a program of training
some 100 Iranian energy-related experts in Japan.
On the Azadegan Field, one of the world's largest remaining
untapped deposits and the biggest in the country, Khatami told
Hiranuma during their talks that Iran "welcomes cooperation by the
Japanese government" for the development plan.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiranuma told Khatami that
Japan expects "the president's help to realize the plan as soon as
possible." In the talks with the oil minister, Hiranuma addressed U.S.
interests by expressing Japan's wish to "have U.S. concerns take part"
in the consortium should Washington lift its sanctions against Iran.
The consortium has launched full-fledged negotiations with the
Iranian government over the plan to develop the oil field after
submitting a business plan to Iran in late June that includes the
participation of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
Iran gave Japanese firms prime negotiation rights for development
of the oil field when Khatami visited Tokyo last November. The
Japanese consortium is led by Tokyo-based oil development firm
Indonesian Petroleum Ltd. and Japan National Oil Corp. Other members
include Trading House Tomen Corp. and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.
The Japanese government and the Japanese industry have been
anxious to find new oil fields to develop since Japan's Arabian Oil
Co. lost its drilling rights in Saudi Arabia's Khafji Oil Field in
February last year. The Azadegan Field in southern Iran near the Iraqi
border is estimated to yield up to 24 billion barrels of oil.