Iran to Open Wallet for $200B Oil Investment to 2015

VIENNA (Dow Jones), Mar. 17, 2010

Iran is seeking $200 billion in oil, gas and refining investments over five years to avoid a production decline, and Iranian companies can sustain this should foreign interest fail to materialize, the country's oil minister said Wednesday.

He also reiterated sanctions won't affect those plans.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Masoud Mirkazemi said: "For the next five years, we are now...planning seriously for investment of upstream and downstream [of] $200 billion investment."

Given the depletion of existing oil and gas fields, the minister said the investments will "introduce a degree, a percentage of efficiency."

"Therefore a step should be taken so that investment will be also absorbed by this process of...increasing production," Mirkazemi said.

"It's about 31 years since Iran got independence and some countries do not like it," he said in reference to western sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic. "These kind of sanctions will not have any effect on it [investment]."

Mirkazemi reiterated that Iranian companies could sustain the investment if foreign companies fail to sign up. "Today Iran has all the necessary technology," he said. "If other countries are not interested in entering into negotiations and contracts, we do have Iranian companies that have this potential." In this case, "for us it will cost less," he said.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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