Iranian Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji said an investment of 7 billion dollars was planned in the development of Azadegan Oilfield, most of which to be provided by Iranian banks, development companies and the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI).
Underlining the necessity of investing $160 billion in the upstream and downstream sectors of the country's oil industry within the next eight years, Mr. Owji said: “We will provide a major part of the $7 billion dollar for the Azadegan field development plan from banks, development companies and the National Development Fund of Iran.”
Speaking on Saturday, in a meeting to present investment opportunities and the implementation mechanism of banks' participation in the upstream projects, he acknowledged that the lack of investment in recent years due to the sanctions has indeed caused many problems in the field of oil and gas production capacity, refining and petrochemical products for the country, and said: "Unfortunately, in recent years, we have not been able to take advantage of the domestic financial capacities in the oil industry."
Recalling that last year Iran was facing a deficit of 250 million cubic meters of gas at the height of the cold season, he said: “This is despite the fact that our country has the second largest gas reserves in the world, while supply of petroleum products has developed tantamount to consumption growth, so we should think about increasing the production capacity of petroleum products in the country.”
Addressing the executives of the country's banks and financial institutions, he emphasized: "Undoubtedly, if proper investment had been made in the country's oil and gas sector in recent years, the economic and livelihood situation of the country and the people would not have been what it is today. On the other hand, if we can invest in the country's refining projects and turn crude oil into products with higher added value, we can completely prevent crude oil sales.”
He underlined the ease of exporting petroleum and petrochemical products and even pre-sale of these products, and added: “If there were better investments in these two areas in recent years, the country would benefit more.”
The Minister of Petroleum said: “One of the major goals and concerns of the 13th administration is the integration of domestic technical and economic capacities to advance strategic projects in the oil industry. In this regard, last year, 45 memorandums and contracts were signed in the upstream and downstream sectors worth more than $16 billion using domestic resources. This year, half-finished projects of the country's oil industry worth 13 billion dollars will be put into operation according to a specific schedule using domestic resources and a consortium of domestic banks.”
Attracting $4.5bn of Foreign Capital
Owji underlined that attraction of $4.5 billion of foreign capital in the projects of the country's oil and gas industry in the calendar year of 1400 which ended on March 20, and said: "Two attractive investment packages in the upstream and downstream sectors have been prepared for foreign investors, which we hope will lead to a contract soon."
Emphasizing that in order to ensure the country's energy security, investment in the country's oil and gas projects should be transformed as soon as possible, he said: “Based on the coordination with the economic groups of the administration, we plan to take advantage of the financial power of the country's economic giants (holdings), domestic banks and people's contributions for the advancement of the country's oil and gas projects.”
He continued: “We are not going to provide all the $160 billion of investment required in the upstream and downstream sectors in the next eight years from domestic sources, but at least a major part of this investment can be provided from domestic capacities.
The Petroleum Minister further pointed to the joint Azadegan oil field (North and South) as the largest joint oil field between Iran and Iraq, and said: "Right now, Iraq is developing and producing from this field by taking advantage of the power of companies such as BP and Shell, while we produce only about 190,000 barrels/day from this field.”
Saying that the National Iranian Oil Company has prepared a good master plan for the development of new phases of the North and South Azadegan fields by using the data and studies of domestic and foreign companies, Owji said: “As an expert in oil and gas reservoirs, I say that considering the high capacity of this field, it is realistic to expect a production level of over 590,000 barrels per day from this field.”
Referring to the negotiations of the National Iranian Oil Company with 5 or 6 companies, a large domestic bank and the National Development Fund of Iran for an investment of $7 billion in the Azadegan field, he said: “According to the planning, many wells are going to be drilled in this field.”
“Iran already has major capable companies in the development of offshore fields, especially the South Pars joint field. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s establishment, in cooperation with domestic companies and banks, has invested $150 billion in this area in recent years, and now all the operations, from sea to land, are carried out by the capable hands of Iranian developers.”
Owji stated: “I have many years of experience in developing and investing in the country's oil and gas fields, and based on this experience, I confidently state that Iran has the technical and financial ability to develop its hydrocarbon resources. Based on the format and planning of the National Iranian Oil Company and the Planning and Budget Organization, domestic exploration and production companies, banks and contractors will develop oil and gas projects such as the Azadegan joint field in the form of a joint-stock company for 20 years, and I, as the minister of Petroleum, promise that the profit of this model of oil and gas projects will be sweeter than the new model of oil contracts.”
Regarding planning for the construction of the Martyr Sardar Qassem Soleimani Petro-refinery, he said: “Fortunately, construction of this refinery was approved with a budget of $10 billion in this year's budget. In this petro-refinery, a consortium of five Iranian companies and holdings, such as Farman Imam (RA), National Development Fund, Oil Industry Investment Fund, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) and public shareholders will participate.”