* Sanctions no hindrance to cooperation -Russia oil minister
* Russian companies can supply fuel to Iran
* Ministers see "transport corridor" for gas, products
(Adds quotes from Russia, Iran ministers)
By Jessica Bachman and Katya Golubkova
MOSCOW, July 14 Russia mapped out plans with
Iran on Wednesday for lasting cooperation on energy, aiming to
soothe Tehran's worries after Moscow backed U.N. sanctions
against the Islamic Republic, where it has lined up major deals.
Moscow-Tehran relations chilled earlier this year as Russia
improved ties with the United States, a forceful advocate of
sanctions. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow was
running out of patience with Iranian unwillingness to address
Western fears over its nuclear programme.
On Wednesday, the Russian and Iranian energy ministers
signed a "road map" outlining long-term energy cooperation and
said they will aim to found a joint bank to help fund bilateral
projects and expand cooperation in natural gas deliveries and
"Sanctions will not hinder us in our joint cooperation,"
Sergei Shmatko said, when asked about joint projects after the
signing ceremony with Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi.
Mirkazemi said the sanctions have had no impact on Iran
because it had begun to rely even more on its own resources and
said the measures were only damaging the activities of companies
that were willing to work with Iran.
Russian oil and gas majors Gazprom (GAZP.MM), Gazprom Neft
(SIBN.MM) and LUKOIL (LKOH.MM), have signed billions of dollars
worth of deals to help Iran develop its oil and gas fields but
most projects are on hold because of sanctions.
Partly for this reason analysts have said Russia would try
to walk a safe path between sanctions and its wish to maintain
links with a fellow oil and gas power. [ID:nLDE66C120]
Shmatko also said Russian firms could supply Iran with
refined oil products.
U.S. laws sanction any company worldwide that exports the
motor fuel to Iran in an effort to deter Tehran's nuclear
enrichment activities. Iran says its nuclear activities are
peaceful and not aimed at developing weapons.
Iran, dependent on imports to satisfy its citizens'
voracious appetite for state subsidised gasoline, has been
shunned by many of its traditional suppliers, including
independent trade houses and the trade arm of Russia's No.2 oil
firm, LUKOIL (LKOH.MM).
"We have not discussed trading operations, but if there is
commercial interest and attractive terms Russian companies are
ready to supply oil products to Iran without any doubt," Shmatko
The text of the pact said the two countries would aim to
increase cooperation in transit, swaps and marketing of natural
gas as well as sales of petroleum products and petrochemicals.
"We are neighbours and if a big project to create a
south-north transport corridor is implemented I believe that we
will create long-term supply opportunities, including for oil
products," Shmatko said.
The two ministries also said they agreed "to prepare a broad
joint road map for agreement on activities in power, nuclear
energy and renewables"
The ministers will meet again in the fourth quarter of 2010
to finalise agreements.
Executives of major Russian and Iranian companies were
present at the signing ceremony on Wednesday but agreed only two
deals to boost cooperation.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a protocol
with Russian gas engineering company Cryogenmash to help it
supply gas to 8,000 cities and villages in Iran with the use of
liquefied natural gas technology.
Russian power engineering firm REP Holding signed a deal
with NIOC to help modernise the Iranian oil industry. No further
details were given during the signing.
Please see: TAKE A LOOK - Iran's energy in sanctions
(Reporting by Jessica Bachman, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and
Melissa Akin, editing by Anthony Barker)