Iran, Japan call for expansion of energy ties

August 10, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN- Iran and Japan are seeking expansion of bilateral ties in different fields of energy including petrochemical and upstream oil industries as well as transferring related technology, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Sunday.

Zanganeh made the remarks after a meeting with Daishiro Yamagiwa, the Japanese deputy minister of economy, trade and industry, the IRNA news agency reported.

The oil minister said opening a new chapter in Iran-Japan economic and trade relations was discussed in the meeting.

Yamagiwa leads a 60-member delegation, including executives from 21 companies hoping to grab a foothold in the Iranian market. 

Japanese companies, which had active presence in Iran’s petrochemical and oil projects before the sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program, have announced their readiness to resume activity in the Islamic Republic when sanctions are lifted.

Japan’s Inpex Corporation had a stake in the project to develop the Azadegan oilfield, considered to have one of the largest crude oil reserves in the Middle East. It had to pull out after the United States reinforced its sanctions on Iran. 

Japan imported 10 percent of its oil from Iran in 2000, but sanctions have cut that figure to roughly 5 percent in fiscal 2014. Japan hopes renewed talks will lead to increased oil imports. 

Iran exported $33.14 million of non-oil goods to Japan in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, 2015, while imported $235.03 million of non-oil goods from the country, according to the Iran Customs Administration. 

European countries also have sent delegations to Iran since that nation signed the nuclear agreement in mid-July. Iran boasts the world's fourth-largest proven oil reserves, and with a population of 78 million is a leading Middle East market.