|Iran, Russia to boost reaches out to on oil, gas cooperations||
The Iranian government is interested in working with Russian companies in the oil and natural gas sector, the Iranian oil minister said from Moscow.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said Iran was producing around 4 million barrels of oil per day. Half of that, he said, was for exports.
He told Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti that he was looking forward to positive results from his approach with his Russian counterparts.
"We welcome cooperation with Russian companies if they are ready to invest in Iran's oil and gas sector and develop oil and gas deposits," he was quoted as saying. "However, at present we do not have any joint projects."
Qasemi said Tehran aimed to use money from a national stabilization fund to develop its oil and natural gas industries.
Embargo on Iran oil pushes up world prices
Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has warned that the ongoing embargo on the Islamic Republic’s oil exports will drive up global oil prices in international markets.
"If [the oil] producing countries are confronted with difficulties and restrictions, the market will react to the situation accordingly, which will cause an increase in prices," RIA Novosti quoted Qasemi as saying.
Qasemi further said Iran is to tap the National Development Fund, formerly known as Oil Stabilization Fund, to finance oil and gas projects.
"[During] this [Iranian calendar] year [March 2012-March 2013] we are planning to use USD 14 billion for the development of the oil and gas industry from the fund alone," he said, adding that Iran also enjoys other reserves in foreign currencies both at home and abroad.
"So there will be no particular difficulties this year with financing the country's oil and gas industry [projects]," noted the minister.
Under pressure from the United States, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors last January.
The sanctions, which prevent EU member states from purchasing Iran's oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1.
On August 1, the U.S. Congress approved more illegal embargoes against Tehran, which seek to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.
Iran's OPEC governor, Mohammad-Ali Khatibi, said last month that the Islamic Republic keeps supplying crude oil to its customers regardless of the U.S. and European-imposed embargos.
“Iran's crude sale is going ahead as usual and we continue to sell oil to our traditional buyers in the remote places of the world,” he said.
Iran to use 18% of stabilization fund for oil, gas industry
Iran is to spend 18 percent of its stabilization fund for the development of the oil and gas sector, Petroleum Minister Rostam Qasemi said.
“This year [2012-2013] we are planning to use $14 billion for the development of the oil and gas industry from the stabilization fund alone,” he told RIA Novosti's Mikhail Gusev, his first interview with a foreign news agency.
Iranian oil exports have fallen by an estimated 40 percent since the EU introduced an oil embargo against Tehran in July.
The National Development Fund [National Stabilization Fund] was established to protect the national economy and reduce Iran’s dependence on oil, Qasemi said.
“Every year 20 percent of the country’s GDP goes to the stabilization fund,” he said.
Iran also has other foreign exchange reserves both at home and abroad, he added.
“So there will be no particular difficulties this year with financing the country’s oil and gas industry,” he said.
As of 2010, Iran’s stabilization fund was $40 billion.
According to Iran’s Petroleum Ministry, the Islamic Republic currently produces 4 million barrels of crude per day, half of which is exported.
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