News / Middle East

    Iran Courts Indian Companies with More Alluring Oil Contracts

    FILE - The front of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company building is seen in Tehran, November 17, 2009. FILE - The front of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company building is seen in Tehran, November 17, 2009.
    x
    FILE - The front of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company building is seen in Tehran, November 17, 2009.
    FILE - The front of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company building is seen in Tehran, November 17, 2009.
    Reuters
    Iran has offered new, more alluring terms to reluctant Indian companies to win the investment it craves for its decaying energy sector suffering from tight Western sanctions.
     
    Iran started offering production sharing contracts (PSCs), long denied to investors, to a group of Indian oil executives visiting Tehran in January, an Indian industry source said on Thursday.
     
    Tehran's insistence, until now, on paying contractors back in oil made projects unattractive to foreign firms even before sanctions made it nearly impossible for most to work there.
     
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pictured in Nicosia, Cyprus on June 26, 2012.Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pictured in Nicosia, Cyprus on June 26, 2012.
    x
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pictured in Nicosia, Cyprus on June 26, 2012.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pictured in Nicosia, Cyprus on June 26, 2012.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi repeated the production sharing offer during an India-Iran Joint Commission meeting with Indian external affairs minister Salman Khurshid in Tehran last weekend, Indian media reported.
     
    Indian firms say the risks of investing large sums in Iran are still too great, even with a more attractive PSC regime.
     
    “We expressed our reservations because of international sanctions and non-availability of services and material required for execution projects,'' said a source who was involved in talks with Iran on potential upstream activities in January.
     
    Three Indian companies with stakes in a gas field in Iran - Indian Oil Corp., ONGC Videsh and Oil India - told a U.S. government watchdog late last year that they had no plans to pursue further work on the project.
     
    According to Iranian media reports, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has been drafting production-sharing contracts in the hope of attracting Asian companies, which are not banned by their governments from operating in Iran, to invest in its rundown industry.
     
    Indian press reports said that the two foreign ministers discussed PSCs on Saturday at their meeting in Tehran.
     
    A statement published by the Indian foreign ministry after the meeting said the two sides agreed to study joint investment prospects in both countries but made no mention of energy agreements.
     
    The two ministers did discuss India working to upgrade Iran's Chahbahar Port near the border with Pakistan to help boost trade with land-locked Afghanistan to the north, according to the Indian statement.
     
    “We are determined to explore and use all capacities for economic cooperation,'' Khurshid was quoted as saying in a statement published by the Iranian foreign ministry.
     
    Under Iran's established buy-back system, contractors are supposed to be paid in oil and gas from projects they develop with their own capital but then have to hand back the project to Iranian companies when completed and wait for pay back.
     
    This system has kept oil majors like Italy's Eni waiting for multi-million-dollar payments for projects they completed decades ago, while sanctions make it still more difficult to get the oil from Iran.
     
    Under the new contracts, NIOC plans to transfer development of small oil and gas fields to contractors so that the state-run Iranian oil company plays only a supervisory role, NIOC director Ahmad Qalebani was reported as saying by Fars News in March.
     
    PSC's would only be offered for shared fields, he was quoted as saying during a meeting in Tehran on the development of Iran's contracting system in March.
     
    Iran has been courting Asian and Russian energy companies to develop its vast oil and gas reserves over the last few years, and there are still a number of Chinese and Russian companies working in upstream projects, according to the U.S. government.
     
    Western sanctions have also dampened their appetite for long-term investments in the isolated Islamic Republic, on current contract terms, with Chinese companies slamming the brakes on projects they agreed to develop years ago.
     
    Under pressure from Washington, India and China - two of Iran's biggest oil buyers - have also sharply reduced their imports of Iranian crude over the last year.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.