BEIRUT (Reuters) - Attracting foreign investment for Iran’s oil sector will continue to be a top priority during President Hassan Rouhani’s second term, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday.
“Attracting foreign investment and technology is a priority for us in the oil industry, whether in shared fields or for increasing the production of oil at fields that are already operational,” he said during a live television interview on state TV.
Zanganeh, who won parliamentary approval on Sunday to stay on as oil minister, has been credited with increasing Iran’s crude output since many global sanctions were lifted last year following an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
He has also won praise with a multi-billion-dollar deal with France’s Total to develop South Pars, the world’s largest gas field.
Total will be the operator with a 50.1 percent stake, alongside Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNPC with 30 percent and National Iranian Oil Co subsidiary Petropars with 19.9 percent.
The project will cost up to $5 billion and production is expected to start within 40 months, Iran’s oil ministry said in a statement last month.
Approximately $3 billion of that will go toward generating work for Iranian companies, Zanganeh said. Some 27 phases of South Pars will be operational by spring of 2019, Zanganeh said.
Iran needs approximately $200 billion investment for oil and gas production, development and refineries and roughly 65 to 75 percent of that needs to come from foreign investment, he said.
Iran is going to try to attract $60 billion in foreign investment for the oil industry by the end of the Iranian calendar year in March 2018, Zanganeh said.
Less than 30 percent of Iran’s 700 billion barrels of oil reserves are currently extractable, according to Zanganeh.
Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Jon Boyle