BY: Ebrahim Fallahi

Iran Oil Show 2019: ‘Iran not alone in oil market’

May 5, 2019

TEHRAN - European exhibitors participating in the 24th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition of Iran (Iran Oil Show 2019) believe that the recent U.S. pressures for isolating Iran’s economy wouldn’t stop them from trying to find a way for collaborating with Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.

The exhibition, which was held at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds from May 1 to 4, hosted some 1150 domestic and foreign companies from 21 countries including Azerbaijan, Spain, Germany, Britain, Italy, Turkey, China, Russia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and etc.

To get an idea about the viewpoints of the companies participating in this year’s exhibition, Tehran Times conducted interviews with representatives of a number of European companies. What follows is a brief collection of those interviews.

 ‘Iran, still a gold mine’

Asked about the presence of Italian companies in Iran Oil Show 2019, Andrea Zucchini, former Italian politician, President of I-Pars, company that collaborates with the Italian and Iranian institutions and also cooperate with the Confindustria Emilia (the major representation association of manufacturing and service companies in Italy), said, “This year we are here with an Italian delegation. Total there are 14 Italian companies and there are also companies which are also attending as visitors”.

He further mentioned the negotiations underway between the Italian company representatives and their Iranian counterparts and said, “There are many negotiations in progress but Italian companies are very reserved at this point because of the U.S. sanctions.”

About the future of cooperation between Iranian and Italian companies considering the recent U.S. pressures, Zucchini said, “I think it is possible to work for Italian companies in Iran even during the unjust U.S. sanctions.  The Iranians are strong people and used to being subjected to external pressure, so they will resist.”

Asked about the INSTEX (the Europe's financial mechanism for trade with Iran) and its impact on the trade between Iran and Europe, the official said “The Instex system is a correct solution. At the moment however it is still not clear how it can be used. It is therefore important for Europe to hurry and make this system operating.  Our companies are waiting for it and I think it could give further confidence to the whole system.”

“This year's fair went very well and I still think that Iran is and will be a gold mine for Italian companies”, he added.

 ‘A great trade partner for Europe’

Arjen Mosselman, a company representative from the Netherlands, believed that considering Iran’s geopolitical position in the region, the country could be a great trade partner for Europe.

“Iran is the country with the highest potential for growth in the Middle East and I believe the future is bright despite all the hurdles.”

The representative of the Spanish pavilion Cecilio Castro Lopez, who works as the international trade advisor to the embassy of Spain in Tehran, had similar viewpoints with the Dutch official regarding Iran market. 

When asked about the number of Spanish companies attending this year he said “Spain has been here [the exhibition] for many years however this year due to the U.S. sanctions only two companies are participating.”

Regarding the INSTEX, Castro said Europe and Iran have always had a good relationship and so despite the U.S. efforts INSTEX was inevitable and hopefully it is going to be operational soon. 

“Economically speaking it is going to be very important for both sides because right now the situation is a little difficult and with INSTEX we hope that things get better”, he added.
He said, “Iran is a very good market and there are a lot of Spanish companies which are interested in collaborating in Iran’s oil and gas industry.”

A German Partner of the ATAC Company which asked to remain anonymous believed that “There is big hope among German companies for trade with Iran and that’s the reason we are here.”

“We are not going to disappear…we are standing by Iran…..Iran is a great market …. the situation is disappointing [mentioning the U.S. sanctions]”, he added.

 ‘Together we are stronger’

Anastasia Rudenok, a leading trade expert at United Engine Corporation said “This is the fifth time that we are participating in this exhibition, this is a rather traditional exhibition for us now.”

Asked about the exhibition, she said “This is much bigger than what I expected….it is a great opportunity to showcase your products.”

Regarding the sanctions, Rudenok said, “Well of course due to sanctions it is much harder to conduct trade internationally, but I believe we [Russia] and many other developing countries like Iran are in the same boat so have to stick together and together we are stronger.”

Valerie Kobeeva, the deputy chief of foreign trade department at JSC Proton which is a renowned Russian manufacturer of optoelectronics in Russia, said, “There are 14 Russian companies participating this year…we are all really interested in Iran’s market.”

Regarding the impact of the U.S. sanctions Kobeeva said, “Surely the U.S. sanctions are affecting the both sides’ trade but considering the good political relations between the two countries it will be easier to maintain trade relations.”

EF/MA

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