Iran, Russia to form joint energy venture

December 1, 2009

TEHRAN – Iran and Russia have agreed to establish a joint investment company in a bid to facilitate the cooperation in the field of energy.

Russian Energy Minister, Sergei Shmatko and Iranian Oil Minister, Masoud Mirkazemi reached the agreement in Tehran on Sunday, SHANA news agency reported.
The two sides also agreed on the implementation of 15 new oil and gas projects, the construction of an oil refinery near the Caspian Sea, and gas swap as well.
According to Shmatko, Russia’s largest petrochemical holding SIBUR is negotiating with Iran’s National Petrochemical Company over the construction of major petrochemical plants in Iran.
SIBUR has been negotiating with Iran’s National Petrochemical Company over this issue for about a year, the company's President Dmitry Konov stated.
According to him, the bilateral cooperation resulted in establishing a joint venture, which will build a petrochemical plant producing bulk polyolefin, Itar-Tass reported.
The Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko arrived in Tehran on Sunday to attend the eighth meeting of Iran-Russian Joint Economic Commission.
--------- All done to complete Bushehr NPP: Shmatko
Everything possible has been done to complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, the Russian energy minister said Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.
“The Bushehr plant is a symbol of cooperation between Russia and Iran. We have done everything possible to complete the project,” Shmatko told journalists after talks with Iranian officials shortly before a meeting of an intergovernmental commission in Tehran.
Shmatko said in mid-November that the launch of Bushehr NPP may not take place before the end of this year, as earlier planned. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday the launch will take place by the end of March 2010.
The construction of the plant was started in 1975 by German companies. However, the firms stopped work after a U.S. embargo was imposed on high-technology supplies to Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the subsequent U.S. embassy siege in Tehran.
Russia signed a contract with Iran in February 1998 to complete the plant.
The launch date has been postponed many times over financial problems and Iranian claims that Russia was reluctant to finish the facility due to UN sanctions.
Iran has been under international pressure to halt uranium enrichment, used in both electricity generation and weapons production. Tehran has repeatedly rejected the demand, insisting it is pursuing a purely civilian program.
Iran’s state television reported Sunday that the Islamic Republic plans to build ten new uranium enrichment facilities. It said Iran’s government instructed the country’s nuclear organization to start building five new plants and outline locations for another five within two months.