July 31 (Reuters) - Asian countries, which include Iran’s biggest oil customers, are hoping to grab a share of new energy investments in the OPEC producer after this month’s agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme opened the way for sanctions to be removed.
With almost 80 million people and annual output of some $400 billion, Iran could be the biggest economy to rejoin the global trading and financial system since Russia emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago.
Iran has already outlined plans to rebuild its main industries and trade relationships, saying last week it was targeting oil and gas projects with foreign partners worth $185 billion by 2020.
It would take around $100 billion to return Iran’s oil industry to the level of five years ago, Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said in an interview published in Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung on Thursday.
Here are some investments from Asian countries before the sanctions noose started tightening around Iran.
COUNTRY: China COMPANY: China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) INVESTMENT: CNPC, parent of PetroChina, pulled out of the giant South Pars gas project in 2012, after repeatedly failing to fulfil contracted workloads. China’s top energy company in early 2010 clinched a $4.7 billion deal to develop phase 11 of the field.
Iranian officials said in April that CNPC has expressed an interest in returning to the offshore project. COMPANY: CNPC INVESTMENT: CNPC plans to begin production of phase-one of its North Azadegan project around early October, said a CNPC source, without specifying the size of the production.
CNPC said in its inhouse newspaper on Thursday that the North Azadegan project “reached its final stage before production starts”. Iranian media in early 2014 put phase one of North Azadegan at 75,000 barrels per day (bpd). CNPC earlier agreed on a $2 billion deal to develop the North Azadegan discovery into a 120,000-bpd field. COMPANY: CNPC INVESTMENT: CNPC is the operator of the aging Masjed-i-Suleiman field in the southwestern province of Khuzestan with a design capacity of 20,000 bpd and is producing a small amount of oil. CNPC initially signed the contract to boost oil recovery at the field in 2004. It later increased spending on the project to $150 million, an industry official said in early 2007.
COMPANY: Sinopec Group INVESTMENT: Sinopec Group, parent of Sinopec Corp, is expected to start producing 85,000 bpd under the phase-one development of the Yadavaran oilfield from around October, according to two company sources. Sinopec signed a $2 billion deal in 2007 to build a 200,000 bpd field. COMPANY: Sinopec Engineering Inc INVESTMENT: Sinopec Engineering, a unit of Sinopec Group, built a hydrotreating facility for producing gasoline at Iran’s Arak refinery in August 2011. COMPANY: CNOOC INVESTMENT: CNOOC, parent of CNOOC Ltd, pulled out of North Pars gas project around late 2010. The offshore oil and gas developer agreed in 2006 to a $16 billion preliminary deal to develop gas fields and build export facilities to export the gas in liquid form. No new investments have been made since.
COUNTRY: India COMPANIES: ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India INVESTMENT: An Indian consortium including ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India held a service contract for exploration after discovering the Farzad B gas field in the Farsi block.
Iran in 2013 proposed a production sharing contract for Farzad B but India could not accept it because of sanctions. Iranian media have since reported that Tehran has decided to auction the field while India companies maintained they have not been informed by the Persian Gulf nation of the plan. Indian companies say they are still in talks with Iran on development rights for the field.
COUNTRY: Japan COMPANY: Inpex INVESTMENT: Inpex invested 12.5 billion yen ($100 million) in the Azadegan oil field, Iran’s biggest oil find in 30 years when it was announced in 1999. In October 2010, the Japanese company agreed to withdraw because of the U.S. sanctions.
An Inpex spokesman said that the company is interested in Iran because it has a high potential, but for now is monitoring the situation.
COUNTRY: Malaysia COMPANY: Petronas INVESTMENT: Petronas had a 10 percent stake in the South Pars project under a contract that expired in 2009. The contract wasn’t renewed because of spiralling costs and increasing tensions between Western countries and Iran after Tehran’s missile test in 2009. The company stopped supplying gasoline to Iran in April 2010 and in 2012 stopped purchases of Iranian crude to feed refineries in Malaysia and South Africa.
COUNTRY: South Korea COMPANY: GS Engineering & Construction Corp INVESTMENT: GS E&C won a 1.6 trillion Korean won ($1.4 billion) project to complete phases 6, 7 and 8 of the South Pars gas project in Iran in 2009, but scrapped the deal in July 2010 following the imposition of sanctions.
A spokesman said GS doesn’t have any business relationships in Iran, but is seeking viable projects in the region. COMPANY: Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co Ltd INVESTMENT: Hyundai Engineering & Construction worked on the South Pars Phases 4, 5 stage gas treatment facilities in Iran in 2005 in a $1.6 billion deal, its last investment.
A spokesman said construction was completed in 2005 and the company has no current projects with Iran. COMPANY: Daelim Industrial Co Ltd INVESTMENT: Daelim won a $600 million contract to build petrochemical plants in 2009 with completion planned for 2013.
A spokesman said Daelim has as many as five employees dispatched to Iran to work on building a gas refining plant. Progress has been slow due to sanctions and Daelim expects the construction pace to pick up if they are lifted, he said. COMPANY: Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co INVESTMENT: Daewoo was awarded a contract to build oil tankers for Iran in 2005 and delivered them in 2009.
The company said has no current projects in Iran, a spokesman said.
COUNTRY: Thailand COMPANY: PTT Exploration and Production Pcl INVESTMENT: The company carried out exploration work in Iran before the sanctions but didn’t find exploitable reserves, said Chief Executive Officer Tevin Vongvanich.
“Iran is a country which has business opportunities, in term of exploration and production and sales of petroleum products such as supplying jet fuel for Iranian aircraft. But we haven’t done anything there because we need to see more developments. If we decide to do something, we need to discuss the issue with the Thai foreign ministry and the U.S. embassy,” the CEO said. ($1 = 124.2200 yen) ($1 = 1,170.5700 won) (Reporting by BEIJING, SEOUL, TOKYO, NEW DELHI, BANGKOK and KUALA LUMPUR bureaux,; Compiled by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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