Iran Aims for $35 Bln in Annual Energy Investments


"Iran sits on the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia. . ."

Iran is aiming for annual investment of at least $35 billion in its upstream oil and gas sectors over the next five years from foreign and domestic sources, Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said on Tuesday.

Analysts say Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, needs to attract foreign capital and know-how to help develop its vast energy resources.

Iran sits on the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia, but U.S. and UN sanctions imposed over Tehran's disputed nuclear program have slowed its development as a major exporter.

Mirkazemi said Iran was seeking to attract both domestic and foreign investment in the next five years starting early next year. He did say how much domestic investment would be financed by the state.

"For the next five years' development program, the target is at least $35 billion per year, both in foreign and local investment, for the upstream section of the oil and gas industry," he said.

In the past four years, the sector had attracted about $10 billion in foreign investment each year, he said, describing this figure as "very high," in part due to the high oil price.

Western firms are increasingly wary of investing in Iran due to the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran rejects the charge.

But Iran is still drawing interest from Indian, Chinese and other Asian firms seen as less susceptible to international pressures.

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