Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi and Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko in a meeting in Tehran on Monday discussed cooperation in the energy sector and the two sides decided to establish a joint energy committee.
Given the emphasis of the two ministers on the importance of energy sector in bolstering two-way collaboration, it was decided that a joint energy committee be established, IRNA reported.
It was also decided that meetings of the committee be held regularly so that all agreements could be followed up and implemented in light of the guidance of the two ministers.
The two sides also underlined the need to expedite the implementation of joint energy roadmap, an agreement on which was reached last year.
In the meeting, the two ministers stressed that natural gas pipelines should not be laid in the Caspian Sea to protect aquatics and prevent pollution of the sea.
Both parties agreed that the two countries should adopt common stance in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and other regional and international fora.
Qasemi and Shmatko underlined the need for cooperation in developing oilfields and gas fields regarding which companies of both countries had previously held negotiations.
They also voiced support for transferring modern technologies in various sectors to each other.
Boosting Crude Output
In another development Qasemi said boosting the country’s crude production and extensive exploitation from the joint fields are among the ministry’s top priorities.
Crude output of the National Iranian Offshore Oil Company (NIOOC) should increase to one million barrels a day in the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-15), IRIB quoted Qasemi as saying on Monday.
On joint oil and gas fields shared with neighboring countries, the minister said measures have been taken to expedite the implementation of the related projects.
Turkey Trade at $9.2b Domestic Economy Desk
Trade with Turkey reached $9.2 billion in the first seven months of 2011, showing a growth of 70 percent compared to the figure for the same months last year.
Bilateral trade stood at $5.4 billion in the first seven months of 2010, IRNA reported.
According to figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute, or TurkStat, Iran-Turkey trade is to surpass $15 billion this year in light of the preferential trade prioritized by the two nations.
Turkey exported goods worth $320 million to Iran in July, up from $246 million in July 2010, showing a 30-percent growth.
Also, its imports rose to $1.16 billion from $687 million--indicating a 69-percent rise.
The current trend of Iran-Turkey trade shows that both nations could increase their trade to $30 billion within four years.
Iran and Turkey have in recent years stepped up cooperation in economy, security, trade, education, energy and culture sectors.
The two sides have exchanged several politico-economic delegations in the last few months.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Husseini announced in April that Turkey had replaced Britain as Tehran’s fourth trade partner. “We are very pleased that Turkey has replaced Britain as Iran’s fourth economic partner,” Husseini said in a meeting with Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazichi at the time.
$2b Allocated for Agro Sector Domestic Economy Desk
About $2 billion from the National Development Fund will be made available to the agricultural sector, announced agricultural jihad minister.
Sadeq Khalilian added that the fund will be used for developing the processing industry, fisheries, greenhouses and water and soil resources, IRNA reported.
He said that the agricultural sector has seen significant progress in recent years, adding, agricultural production in the last Iranian year (ended March 20) reached about 107 million tons indicating a growth of 15 percent compared to the figure for the previous year.
Khalilian referred to mechanization and renovation of agro infrastructures as the main policies of the ministry, adding these steps require the support of the trade sector.
He stated that preventing excessive import of agro products and expanding production chains are among the other objectives of the ministry.
The minister noted that fruitful steps have been taken for developing water and soil resources, adding the Subsidy Reform Scheme has provided suitable opportunity for increasing productivity in the agricultural sector.
“About 7,000 billion rials ($700 million) in soft loans will be made available to various agricultural units, of which 52 percent have been absorbed so far,” he said.
Khalilian said that 2. 5 trillion rials ($250 million) have been allocated to the livestock breeding sector.
He further pointed out that 11.38 trillion rials ($1.13 billion) have been earmarked for the Agricultural Jihad Ministry to optimize the use of water, of which 4,500 billion rials ($450 million) have been paid by the Treasury so far.
ECO to Establish Common Market
Domestic Economy Desk
Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is to establish a common trade market among its member countries.
Announcing the above the ECO Secretary General Mohammad Yahya Maroufi said that based on the agreement signed by the members, the market is expected to be established by 2015, ISNA reported.
He stated that the eacstablishment of the market should be ratified by the parliaments of half of the organization’s members.
Maroufi noted that so far the parliaments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan have ratified the law, adding the bill is presently being reviewed by the Tajik Parliament.
He stated that the law has not been ratified in Iran’s Parliament, hoping that Iran, as one of the important member of ECO, would agree with plan.
He noted that establishment of roads, rail and air routes in member countries is among the other objectives of the ECO to expand economic ties. The Istanbul-Almaty-Bandar Abbas transit route will be inaugurated within the next two weeks in a ceremony to be attended by officials of the three countries, he said.
Executive operation of Islamabad-Istanbul railroad is presently underway by the private sector, he said.
He referred to the establishment of ECO bank, which is expected to cooperate with other Islamic countries, as the other plan drawn up by the organization. ECO members, he noted, have also signed a number of agreements with European Union on fighting drug smuggling, terrorism and organized crimes.
Maroufi said that setting up economic organizations for livestock breeding, agricultural, water and blood transfusion sectors are among the other activities of the organization.
1st Petchem Park By Yearend
Domestic Economy Desk
Iran’s first petrochemical park is to be launched in Jam Petrochemical Complex with the participation of a French firm by the end of current Iranian year (March 2012).
Announcing this, head of Jam Petrochemical Complex, Hassan-Ali Pakravan said in addition, two petrochemical parks are to be established with the participation of Italian firms in the complex which is located in Assalouyeh, Bushehr province, Mehr News Agency reported.
Pointing to the commissioning of a Butene unit during the current (Iranian) year, he said the project, which has had a physical progress of 90 percent, will become operational in February 2012.
He explained that the proposed butene unit is to produce over 100,000 tons of petrochemical products annually.
The unit is under the license of a French firm which has fulfilled its commitments in launching, guaranteeing and supplying facilities for Jam Petrochemical project, he elaborated.
At present, Jam Petrochemical Complex, with an annual production of 1.3 million tons of ethylene, is considered as the largest olefin unit worldwide.
The complex also includes a light polyethylene unit with annual production of 300,000 tons, a poly-propylene unit (with production of 300,000 tons per annum), an ethylene glycol unit (443,000 tons) and heavy polyethylene (300,000 tons).
He put the cost of implementing the country’s first petrochemical park at €77 million.
Once all petrochemical parks of the complex are inaugurated, he predicted, the entire production capacity will rise to 3 million tons per year.
Top Producer in ME
Iran should become the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East, said the managing director of the National Iranian Petrochemical Company (NIPC).
Abdolhussein Bayat said on Sunday that based on the objectives of ‘2025 Vision’ scheme Iran should stand first in the Middle East in terms of petrochemical production, Mehr news agency reported.
The Vision program aims to transform Iran into a regional powerhouse by 2025 in the key sectors of the economy, culture, science and technology.
According to the official, diversification of petrochemicals as well as export and production of value added products will contribute to materializing the goal.
In recent years, with new projects becoming operational, the types of petrochemical products have increased to 83 from 25, he further explained.
Iran is expected to earn $14 billion by exporting petrochemical products by the end of the current Iranian year, he pointed out.
Bayat further stated that the country exported about $5.3 billion worth of petrochemical products in the first five months of the current Iranian year (started March 21).
The official added that the country’s petrochemical output capacity has now reached 52 million tons, noting the figure will increase to 60 million tons by the end of the current Iranian year.
“Under the Vision plan, the production capacity of petrochemicals should rise to 126 million tons,” he declared.
Iran has expanded the range and volume of its petrochemical products significantly in the past few years, and the NIPC has become the second largest producer and exporter of petrochemicals in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this week, Bayat said Iran is to produce two rare PVC grade with the cooperation of an Italian company.
He added that once the production lines become operational in Hegmataneh and Arvand petrochemical complexes, the country will be among the few exporters of petrochemical products.
He explained that rare PVC grade is applied in medical industries.
The official predicted that once the funds are supplied, the proposed unit of Hegmataneh Petrochemical Complex will become operational by next Iranian year.
The planning manager of National Iranian Petrochemical Company also said this week that some 15 projects for the production of midstream products of petrochemical industry will be commissioned in Mahshahr, Khuzestan province.
Ramezan Oladi put the production capacity of these projects at 1.565 million tons.
Iraq Gas Export Deal Likely
National Iranian Gas Exporting Company (NIGEC) has announced that the first contract to export natural gas to Iraq will be signed within the next two months.
The company’s caretaker, Hussein Bidarmaghz, said on Sunday that according to the initial contract, gas from Iran will be transited via Ilam border to feed three Iraqi power plants but the final agreement will be inked within two months, Shana reported.
The official stated that based on the agreement with the Iraqi energy ministry, Iran will export 25 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to Iraq in the next 18 months.
Bidarmaghz recalled that the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity has signed a contract with an Iranian company for laying the gas pipeline in its territory.
Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, and holds almost 16 percent of the world’s total reserves.
The Islamic Republic is the second largest oil producer of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Earlier in July, Iran, Iraq and Syria signed the Middle East’s biggest gas contract for the transit of Iranian gas from South Pars gas field to Europe via Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.
Based on the deal, Iranian gas would be transited to European countries, including Greece, via a 5,000-kilometer pipeline from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.
Iraq had already said that it needed between 10 to 15 million cubic meters of Iran’s gas, Syria about 15 to 20 million cubic meters, and Lebanon about five to seven million cubic meters until 2020.
4th Solo Expo
Iran’s Fourth Solo Exhibition will be held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from September 28 to October 2, said the director of Public Relations Department for International Exhibitions in Khorasan Razavi province, Jamal Shoushtari.