Iran Oil Ministry to Take Legal Action Against Pakistan

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Sunday that Iran has held its end of the bargain by taking the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to the Pakistani border, but Pakistan has not yet taken any action in this regard. Pakistan Today reports.

“If Pakistan doesn’t take necessary actions in this regard Iran has no choice but to take legal actions,” he added.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said although Iran is able to increase its crude oil output by 100,000 barrels per day in less than few days but complying with OPEC, non-OPEC pact the country will keep the output at the agreed levels. According to the minister, the increase in production levels would come from the West Karoun oilfields which Iran shares with Iraq.

“Oil production from the West Karoun fields has currently reached 305,000 barrels per day, 145,000 barrels more than last year’s 160,000 barrels,” Zanganeh said.

The official further noted that the country’s average daily oil production in the first ten months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2017- January 20, 2018) increased by 160,000 barrels compared to the figure for the last year’s same time span.

“The average exports in the same period also increased by 60,000 barrels on year,”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the minister stressed the development of shared fields as the ministry’s priority saying, “These fields will either be developed by domestic companies or will be assigned to strong foreign contractors.” Asked about the potential foreign contractors for developing the fields, the minister didn’t mention any names due to security issues stating that negotiations are ongoing with domestic and foreign companies for development of the fields.

“Since there are always parties who try to intervene with contract signing processes, we prefer not to announce the names of companies with which the negotiations are close to conclusion,” the minister explained.

He stated that National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is currently negotiating with over 20 foreign and domestic companies to sign contracts for the development of the country’s oil and gas fields. West Karoun region includes five oilfields (Yadavaran, North Azadegan, South Azadegan, North Yaran, and South Yaran) Iran shares with Iraq in the western part of Iran’s southwestern region of Karoun.

About Tehran-Ashkhabad gas dispute, the minister said Iran did not import gas after Turkmenistan cut off its imports and claimed for 1.8-billion-dollar in arrears from Iran. The two sides did some swap after cutting-off measure, Zangeneh said adding Turkmenistan wants to settle the gas dispute through international courts while Iran believes that Ashkhabad should make up for the losses.

The dispute started between Iran and Turkmenistan over gas imports when Ashkhabad, despite its previous agreements with Tehran, demanded for illogical high prices for its exported gas to Iran ‘s northern regions.

On December 30, 2016, Iranian representatives who were in Turkmenistan for talks over the dispute were told by Tehran to leave the negotiations warning their Turkmen counterparts that Tehran will not accept anything beyond the previously made bilateral agreements.

The minister also said the production and export of the Iranian oil grew after the July 2015 nuclear deal. He also rejected claims about a barter deal between Iran and Russia to exchange oil for advanced fighter jets. Turning to the issue of gasoline, Zangeneh said Iran produced 16.5 million liters of the product, which shows an increase from the past Iranian calendar year ended on March 20, 2017, most from the Persian Gulf Star Refinery (PGSR) this year.

The Iranian oil minister has said his country is afraid to share details of its energy development contracts currently under negotiation because of internal and external pressure that could jeopardize them. Bijan Zangeneh told reporters on Sunday there are 150 people from the Iranian side who are negotiating energy contracts, but he warned there are “some” inside and outside the country who are working to derail the agreements.

“We dare not announce the name of the contract that is about to be concluded because we are afraid that they [internal and external opponents] may do something to stop it from being signed,” Zangeneh said, according to ISNA news agency.

The minister did not elaborate what that “something” might be.