As Iran continues to plow ahead with furthering their uranium enrichment technology, they have wasted no time in getting to work on reversing the crippling effects of the sanctions on which they managed to convince the Obama administration and the planet’s other power players to ease up at last. Iran has some of the world’s largest and more cheaply recoverable oil-and-gas reserves, and they want to kick their economy back into gear by significantly ramping up production in 2014; hence, Iranian officials are already romancing European oil companies with potential business opportunities on which they’d like to get to work, and soon. U.S. firms have been barred from doing business with Iran for ages, but the European companies were only barred a couple of years ago with a new round of sanctions, and they might want to get back in the game if sanctions are really lifted:
Iran has named western oil companies it wants back in its vast oil and gas fields once international sanctions are lifted. The oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said contract terms would be offered next April. The seven companies named are: Total of France, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy’s ENI, Norway’s Statoil, Britain’s BP and US companies Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips. …
But Iran’s production stagnated through the 2000s amid growing international tensions over its nuclear programme. The more effective sanctions instituted in 2012 have choked out foreign investment and sent output down to 2.65m barrels a day in November from an average of 4.3m in 2011. …
Speaking at an Opec meeting, Zanganeh said he was already talking with some companies, although so far not those from the US.
Of course, Congress has yet to take further sanctions off of the table of near-future possibilities, and some members would like to warn any oil companies looking to invest in Iran that they could be in for some severe penalties themselves if they start moving forward too soon, via Foreign Policy:
That hasn’t stopped petro-giants like Royal Dutch Shell, Italian company Eni, and Austrian oil and gas company OMV from exploring the possibility of renewing their operations in Iran. And those moves have both Democratic and Republican lawmakers livid.
“Companies examining their options for resuming business relationships with the Iranian regime are acting prematurely at best,” Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Foreign Policy. …
A GOP aide said the renewed interest in Iran’s oil industry by foreign businesses is the type of secondary effect that Republicans warned could happen with the loosening of sanctions.
A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that he “thinks loosening sanctions and recognizing Iran’s enrichment program was a mistake, and it will not stop Iran’s march toward nuclear capability.”
This, of course, was always the point of Iran’s newfound willingness to discuss a nuke deal: Make whatever promises are necessary to get international sanctions off of their backs now, and maybe they’ll follow through with those promises later. Maybe.