Iran’s Non-Oil Exports To Caucasus Region To Boom: Official

Chairman of Iran-Turkey Joint Chamber of Commerce said that country’s non-oil exports to Caucasus region will boom with Armenia's interest for importing products from the Islamic Republic of Iran instead of Turkey. Mehrdad Sa’adat said on Friday that Armenia’s interest in increasing the volume of its trade and business with the Islamic Republic of Iran for importing goods instead of Turkey is considered as a golden opportunity for Iranian traders and merchants so that domestic businesspersons should take advantage of this opportunity optimally.

A few days ago, a letter was released by the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI), based on which, it was announced that Armenia intends to replace Iranian goods with Turkey’s products due to sanctions imposed by the country against Turkey for its support of Republic of Azerbaijan in recent rows over Nagorno-Karabakh region. Sa’adat put the number of goods and products that Armenia intends to import from Iran at 2,250.

In addition, Armenia intends to import its raw materials from the Islamic Republic of Iran, he said, adding, “Importing its raw materials from Iran will pave the suitable ways for domestic traders and businesspersons to take the opportunity of exporting their high-quality products to Armenia.”

For this purpose, a high-ranking economic delegation, headed by the Armenian minister of economy, will travel to the Islamic Republic of Iran in late of the current Iranian month (started Dec. 22), the issue of which can be considered as an effective step in boosting bilateral trade and economic exchanges.

Chairman of Iran-Turkey Joint Chamber of Commerce reiterated that Iranian traders and merchants must take advantage of the opportunity created for exporting their high-quality products to Armenia in line with introducing their products to the lucrative markets of neighboring states. - Mehr


Iran Shuts Operations at Chinese-Iranian Bitcoin Farm amid Power Shortage

Iranian authorities have ordered a temporary suspension of activities in a major cryptocurrency mining factory located southeast of the country amid a significant increase in demand for electricity in the country that has resulted in blackouts in the capital Tehran and other major cities. According to Press TV, Iran’s electricity company Tavanir said on Wednesday that all cryptocurrency mining farms, including a major unit in the city of Rafsanjan which is run by a Chinese-Iranian investment company, had been switched off to prevent further blackouts in major cities.

Tavanir’s deputy CEO Gholamali Rakhshanimehr said, however, that the cryprtocurreny farm in Rafsanjan had been operating legally by paying a premium price for the electricity it used to mine digital currencies. The announcement came after a viral video on the social media showed an internal view to the factory in Rafsanjan where a Chinese staffer explains about tens of thousands of mining machines operating in the facility.

Local authorities in Kerman province said that the farm had been consuming 175 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, from a total of 600 MWh currently allocated to authorized cryprtocurreny farms in Iran. That comes as general electricity use in Iran broke a new record in recent days by topping 41,000 MWh in peak hours of consumptions. Energy Ministry officials insisted last week that they would continue to supply electricity to bitcoin miners to comply with their contractual obligations.

They said Iranian power plants had the capacity to respond to the increasing household and manufacturing demand for electricity while urging families to reduce their gas use to prevent a halt in operations in electricity stations.

Internet IP addresses registered in Iran accounted for 8% of the total bitcoins mined globally in early summer although the figure declined to 3.8% after authorities launched a swift crackdown on the use of subsidized electricity for cryptocurrency mining.

Earlier this week, the government offered up to IRR 200 million (~US$833) for any tipoff on the illegal use of electricity for bitcoin mining. - Pars Today


S. Korea Seeks Qatari Help to Release Tanker Seized by Iran

South Korea has asked Qatar for “maximum support” to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by Iran this month. Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-Kun made the appeal during a visit to Doha, the Qatari capital. He met Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday. Choi traveled to Doha from Tehran after fruitless talks over the South Korean-flagged Hankuk Chemi, an oil-products tanker detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Jan. 4. He also discussed billions of dollars of Iranian money trapped in South Korea due to U.S. sanctions.

Qatar shares the world’s biggest natural gas field with Iran and has maintained close ties with the country even as other GCC states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have backed U.S. attempts to isolate it.

Relations between Tehran and Seoul have been strained since the U.S. banned countries, including major Asian customers, from buying Iranian petroleum. Iran says it has at least US$7 billion from oil sales stuck in South Korea and that it needs the money to purchase goods including coronavirus vaccines. South Korea has shown a “lack of will” to release the oil funds and should avoid “politicizing” the Hankuk Chemi, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Sunday. Iran said the ship was violating marine environmental laws, something its operator has denied. Around 20 crew members are being held with the ship at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. - Bloomberg



Explosion in Gas Station Pipeline in Iran's Khouzestan

The pipeline of a gas station in Cham village in Khouzestan Province exploded on Thursday 14 January during a gas leak test. Local officials said the pipeline had not yet been connected to the gas network and that the site of the explosion had been secured by rescue workers. Unfortunately, the accident killed one and injured another person. - Shana


Tabriz Petrochemical Company, Top Iran Exporter

Tabriz Petrochemical Company was selected as a top Iranian exporter in the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 21. According to TPC, Siavash Derfashi, CEO of the company, received the statue of the best exporter of the year from Ishaqgh Jahangiri, the first vice president, on Monday (11th January) at the 24th National Export Anniversary. Alireza Razm Hosseini, Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, presented a plaque of appreciation for the valuable services of Tabriz Petrochemical Company, and said: "This company is one of the drivers of production prosperity, economic growth and sustainable development” Enhancement of the amount of exports, multiplicity of markets and new markets in the last three years, behavior of companies regarding foreign exchange liabilities and bank debts have been among the criteria for selecting the best exporters. - Shana


Liwa Plastics to Boost Oman’s Polymer Production

Oman’s production of polyethylene and polypropylene — two key polymer-based commodities with wide application in an extensive array for products of everyday use — rises to over 1.5 million tons per annum (mtpa) when the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC), a mega petrochemicals project, is shortly brought into full commercial operation at the Port of Sohar. Marketed locally and globally under the ‘Luban’ brand, polymer output from the US$6.7 billion Liwa Plastics project will position OQ — the integrated energy group of the Sultanate — as a leading producer and supplier of polyethylene and polypropylene to the global market.

“OQ is primed to deliver reliable solutions that meet both local and global demand for polypropylene and polyethylene from our state-of-the art integrated refineries and petrochemical facilities,” the energy group, wholly owned by Oman Investment Authority (OIA), said. “From providing safe flexible packaging for our favorite foods, enhancing the durability and quality of the bottles we use, and advancing sustainable solutions for the home and workplace, OQ is dedicated to optimizing how polymers improve our daily lives,” it stated in a recent update on Liwa Plastics’ polymer production capabilities. The LPIC plant has a capacity to produce around 880,000 tons per annum (tpa) of polyethylene. Roughly half of this capacity (around 440,000 tpa) is dedicated to the production of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) — one of the most versatile plastics materials.

HDPE is used in a wide variety of applications, including plastic bottles and containers for all kinds of food, beverage, personal care products and household items, besides pipes, cutting boards and so on. The other half is earmarked for the production of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), which is similarly used in the manufacturer of an extensive array of goods, notably general purpose film, stretch film, garment packaging, agricultural film, and so on. Additionally, Liwa Plastics will add around 300,000 tpa of new capacity to OQ’s existing polypropylene manufacturing output of 340,000 tpa, effective raising the country’s aggregate polypropylene output to 640,000 tpa.

As with polyethylene, polypropylene is used in the manufacture of packaging for consumer products, plastic parts for various industries including the automotive industry, and textiles, among numerous other products. OQ hopes to leverage Oman’s strategic location as the ‘gateway to the world’ to deliver the required supplies of polymers to markets around the globe within 4-6 days. The company has also set up marketing offices in Singapore and Shanghai. “The expanded product offerings made possible with the LPIC project bring a wider range of sustainable solutions for flexible packaging, rigid packaging and durables, as well as in infrastructure and construction,” added OQ.


Saudi Sadara Recognized by GPCA as Operation Clean Sweep Partner

Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) has received a certificate from the GPCA, recognizing it as an Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) Partner, pledged to implement the OCS program for achieving zero plastic resin loss.

The OCS program is an initiative of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), involving the participation of more than 60 countries around the world. It is designed to help plastics industry operations reduce the accidental loss into the environment of pellets, flakes and powder throughout processing facilities and across the entire supply chain.

Sadara CEO Dr. Faisal Al-Faqeer explained that the company is “the first in the GCC region to receive the OCS recognition” since the program was adopted in the GCC by GPCA in late 2020, and he extended his sincere congratulations to the entire Sadara team for this milestone which adds to “our 2020 achievements and the Sadara success journey.”

Al-Faqeer stressed: “This national gain of first-of-its-kind certification recognizes Sadara’s enduring commitment to sustainability and environmental protection in its operations regionally and internationally.” It also results in an increase in the company’s operational efficiency due to the reduction of waste in production processes.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented: “We are proud to champion another voluntary program by the regional industry which has proven hugely successful in protecting the environment by enabling good housekeeping and pellet containment practices at plastic resin handling operations.

“We congratulate Sadara for its swift move to adopt the program, paving the way for other regional plastic producers to follow, and are confident that, with the support and commitment from our members, we will achieve significant results in our industry’s sustainability performance, and become one of the leading regions globally to adopt more robust pellet containment practices and help improve the industry’s environmental impact even further.”

Sadara is committed to applying the best international environmental standards and practices, educating its supply chain partners and sharing best management practices in environment, safety and sustainability.


All of UOG’s Q4 Production from Kuwait Energy Egypt License

All of United Oil & Gas PLC (UOG) production for the period was from the Kuwait Energy Egypt (“KEE”) operated Abu Sennan License, Egypt, in which United holds a 22% working interest. This data will vary quarter on quarter as development, appraisal and exploration operations continue. United Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Leather commented: “The Abu Sennan asset continues to perform strongly. With the ASH gas pipeline coming onstream at the end of the year, 2021 has already seen a boost to production, with c.220 boepd of additional gas now being captured on a net basis. “United are looking forward to further potential production additions from Abu Sennan in 2021, with a number of activities planned. Drilling at ASH-3, the first of a multi-well program, is currently underway, with results from this well due in Q1.”

UOG's quarterly production update for the period to the end of 2020:

•United’s H2 2020 net working interest production averaged 2,340 boepd in line with guidance for the period of 2,300 boepd
•Q4 2020 net working interest production averaged 2,243 boepd (1,960 bopd oil and 283 boepd gas)
•With the ASH gas pipeline coming onstream on the 27th December, United exited 2020 with net working interest production of 2,389 boepd


Iran, Qatar, Oman in Agreement on Plant Protection & Quarantine

With the approval of the Iran’s Cabinet of Ministers, a permit was issued to negotiate, initial and temporarily sign a cooperation agreement in the field of plant protection and plan quarantine between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the governments of Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman.

It is worth mentioning that the mentioned agreement has been made in order to maintain sustainable infrastructure of crop production and long-term national interests and food security of the country and in order to facilitate and accelerate the exchange of agricultural goods and equipment through the mentioned countries. - Mehr,


Saudi Central Bank Starts Receiving Regulatory Sandbox Applications

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has started to receive applications to test the innovative financial technology (fintech) services and products in the experimental regulatory environment "Regulatory Sandbox" until Feb. 13. On Dec. 15, 2019, SAMA announced that it started to receive the "Regulatory Sandbox" applications, according to data compiled by Argaam.

The sandbox aims to attract local and international fintech institutions and companies to benefit from the state-of-the-art technology, so that they can provide innovative financial services to start-ups, fintech companies, financial services firms and professional services companies in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Wafrah Approves Impeachment of Board, Audit Committee

Saudi Wafrah for Industry & Development Co. approved the impeachment of the board of directors and audit committee, as applied for by shareholders in possession of 7.14% of the total shares of the company, the firm said in a bourse filing today, Jan. 17. The decision came during the company’s ordinary general assembly meeting (OGM) held virtually through the Tadawulaty system on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

Additionally, the meeting elected the board of directors for three-year term starting Jan. 14, 2021. The members elected include Ayad Abdulrahman Mohammed Al-Bunyan, Mohammed Abdulrazaq Aboud Al-Baghdadi, Faisal Mohammed Abdulaziz Al-Khudairi, Mohammed Saud Abdalla Al-Samari, Faisal Abdalla Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Mohammed Yagoub Yossif Al-Mukhadab, and Mohammed Hindi Shujaa Al-Otaibi.

In July 2020, Wafrah said it received a letter from shareholders, owning around 7.14% of capital, requesting to take regulatory measures with regards to the dismissal of the current board of directors and the appointment of a new one, Argaam reported. The company had also received a letter from shareholders, owning around 7.14% of the company’s capital, requesting dismissal of the current audit committee and its restructuring.


Jubail Aims to Build 1st Saudi-Made Car by 2022

The Royal Commission in Jubail started developing the infrastructure required for attracting three global automakers, Mohammad Al-Zahrani, Director of Industrial Investment Development Department told Al-Arabiya TV, expecting the first Saudi-made car in 2022. The move comes in coordination with South Korea’s SsangYong Motor Co. through setting up a car assembly center. Engineering designs are in advanced stages, Al-Zahrani said.

The study conducted by the Royal Commission eyes to attract almost SR40 billion (US$10.67 billion) direct investments to the automotive industry by 2040, Al-Zahrani added, noting that this sector will contribute SR80 billion (US$21.34 billion) to the Saudi Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide 27,000 direct jobs. The Kingdom’s auto complex is part of the strategic industrial plan, as Jubail Industrial City and Ras Al-Khair Industrial City provide no less than 90% of the raw materials used in direct automobile manufacturing, he concluded.


Iraq Extends Travel Ban

Iraq's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety held a meeting on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

The Committee reviewed the latest Covid-19 related developments and decided to:

•Update the travel ban to include travel to and from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, the United States and Zambia.
•Prohibit the entry into Iraq of passengers from these countries, except for Iraqi nationals who will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine and a PCR test
•Diplomats, official government delegations, international organizations, and experts working on service projects are exempt from the entry ban, provided they present a PCR test undertaken with 72 hours before their arrival and showing a negative result
•Apply the principle of reciprocity to foreign airlines in imposing fees in relation to passenger PCR examinations
•Public and private schools will continue to be allowed to open one day a week but must strictly apply preventive health measures
•Direct all ministries and government departments to ensure that staff comply with preventative health measures, including the wearing of face masks. Members of the public not wearing face masks will not be allowed into government buildings
•Shops, restaurants, malls, clubs, cafes, sport centers and event halls will face a fine not exceeding 5 million Iraqi dinars or a closure of no more than 90 days for violations of preventative health measures


Emirates NBD Launches Marketing Campaign

Dubai’s largest bank has launched a marketing campaign offering customers the chance to win Bentley cars or Breitling Aviator watches in a bid to encourage them to boost their savings. The initiative by Emirates NBD follows a recent report showing the negative impact that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had on many bank balances. Bank customers are being given the opportunity to win three luxury Bentley Bentayga SUVs and 75 Breitling Aviator 8 Chronographs as part of a marketing drive that will run until the end of May. Existing customers with an average balance of at least 100,000 Emirati dirhams (~US$27,229) will get the chance to enter a draw to win a Bentley every time they increase their balance by 50,000 dirhams (~US$13,614) in a current or savings account or 100,000 dirhams (~US$27,229) in an online savings account or fixed deposit account during the length of the campaign.

Alternatively, new or existing customers with a balance of 25,000 dirhams (~US$6,807) and who boost their coffers by 5,000 dirhams (~US$1,361) could bag a Breitling Aviator 8 Chronograph. “We are committed to making available exciting opportunities for our customers while also encouraging them to adopt good financial habits especially during these times of uncertainty,” said Suvo Sarkar, Emirates NBD’s senior executive vice president and group head of retail banking and wealth management. The promotion comes in the wake of a survey last month which revealed that more than half of UAE residents said the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted their savings. The research by wealth management company Quilter found that just 13% of respondents had increased their savings in 2020. More than a quarter (27%) said they had lost income so were unable to save, while 25% had saved less than in the previous year.

Brendan Dolan, global distribution director of Quilter International, said: “This research highlights how badly the pandemic has impacted people’s savings habits. Millions of people have experienced a fall in income and the economy suffered a huge economic shock when the UAE went into lockdown. “It is therefore no surprise that more than half of people had to readjust their saving habits to cope in these unusual and difficult circumstances.” Government investment company National Bonds has carried out its savings index since 2011. Its most recent results in 2019 showed that even before the COVID-19 pandemic some UAE residents were already struggling to save as much as they had hoped. Its research found that just 23% of expats who moved to the UAE for savings purposes were positive about putting aside what they had budgeted for, while 68% of total respondents said they believed that it was becoming harder to save money each month. “Perceived barriers to saving including expenses, loans, and a poor knowledge about savings instruments are drawbacks,” Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, the CEO of National Bonds, said in May 2019.


Intl. Participants of UAE’s IDEX, NAVDEX 2021 Exempt from Quarantine

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) - the organizer of the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX 2021) and the Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX 2021) - has received approval from the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre for all badge holders to be exempted from the 10-day quarantine procedure on their arrival into Abu Dhabi, said a report.

This step has been taken to facilitate the arrival of international delegations from all over the world. International visitors to the UAE must present their event badge, printed on A4 paper, at any border, to be exempted from the quarantine, and they will not be required to wear tracking wristbands, news agency WAM reported. Detailed protocols to facilitate the entry of delegations and support their participation are being finalized in collaboration with relevant authorities in the UAE, and an update will be published at a later stage.

Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, part of Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, said: "Through our decision to exempt participants of the IDEX and NAVDEX 2021 exhibitions from the quarantine period, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi is keen to promote business activity in the emirate."

"We worked closely with ADNEC as a strategic partner throughout the pandemic on a number of initiatives that ensured the health of the community. Accordingly, we are confident of their ability to implement rigorous precautionary measures including the necessary PCR tests that ensure the health and safety of visitors and exhibitors attending this event." He added that participants exempt from quarantine procedures still must observe the strict guidelines in place before entering Abu Dhabi.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC, commented: "This exemption demonstrates how IDEX and NAVDEX are leading the recovery of business activity following the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it will showcase how Abu Dhabi continues to lead as a regional capital for the business tourism sector. We maintain our support to welcome the world, once again, in spite of the ongoing global conditions caused by the pandemic."

Through the IDEX, NAVDEX, and the International Defense Conference, ADNEC aims to attract global expertise in the land, sea, and air defense industries, localizing knowledge in the UAE, the report said. The exhibitions are a distinguished global platform that highlights the national defense sector and its infrastructure. The exhibitions will showcase the latest in cutting-edge technology in these sectors, following the global innovation trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

A wide raft of health and safety measures have been designed and implemented across IDEX 2021, NAVDEX 2021 and the International Defense Conference, ensuring the safety of all participants, it said. The exhibitions will be held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from February 21-25.


Qatar Insurance Sector Stands to Gain from Tourism, Realty Boost: S&P

Qatar's intraregional travel, tourism and real estate sectors will benefit the most, lifting the prospects of the insurance sector, as the end of blockade will improve political and economic co-operation within the GCC states, according to Standard & Poor's (S&P), a global credit rating agency. “The restoration of ties between Qatar and the four Arab countries previously boycotting the country will improve political and economic co-operation within the GCC region," the credit rating agency said.

Expecting the resolution of the boycott to support improvement in the region's broader business and investment environment; S&P said Qatar's intraregional travel, tourism, and real estate sectors will benefit most, although the impact on bilateral trade could be marginal.

Another economic think-tank Oxford Economics had recently said full rapprochement would also offer potential economic benefits to support the post-Covid recovery, particularly in Qatar. "Although the Qatari economy has adapted well to the economic consequences of the blockade, a rebound in visitor numbers from the rest of the GCC would provide a timely boost when travel restrictions are eased and help with a successful 2022 FIFA World Cup," it said.

Trade between member states is relatively limited given the almost uniform concentration of GCC member states' exports on hydrocarbons and the lack of strong agriculture or manufacturing sectors in the region, S&P highlighted.

"Our stable outlook on Qatar currently indicates our view that, despite lackluster growth prospects and still-low hydrocarbon prices, Qatar's credit profile will remain resilient, supported by its wealthy economy, and strong government and external net asset positions," it said.

The rating agency said the reopening of their airspace as well as sea and land borders in an effort to end the longstanding diplomatic dispute could have a "positive" effect on the business growth and investment returns of Qatari insurers in the medium term.

Over time, Qatari insurers are likely to benefit from more regional travel, tourism, and possibly trade, which could lead to an increase in insurable risks and consequently premium income, according to S&P.

"More foreign investment could also improve Qatari insurers' asset prices and investment returns, since most of their investments are held in Qatar and investment income is a key contributor to their overall earnings," it said.

Oxford Economics is of the view that more harmony in the GCC would boost the region’s attractiveness to foreign investors as the global economy recovers. "The upside potential is greater for Qatar, but benefits could accrue in the rest of the region too," it added.


Tehran, Dakar Hold Webinar on Boosting Trade

Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (TCCIMA) held a webinar on the expansion of trade with Senegal in collaboration with the Dakar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture. In the webinar which was attended by the officials and representatives of the two countries’ private sectors, including the heads of the two chambers, the two sides discussed ways for the expansion of trade ties, the TCCIMA portal reported on Friday. The officials stressed the need to increase awareness of the capacities and opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking in the online event, the TCCIMA Head Masoud Khansari expressed dissatisfaction with the level of trade between the two countries considering their great capacities and said: “the trade between Iran and Senegal in the previous [Iranian calendar] year (ended on March 19, 2020) was only US$1.8 million.” Noting that Senegal's annual trade value is estimated at US$12.3 billion, Khansari said: "Senegal's most important export items include foodstuff and agricultural products such as fish, seafood, cotton, peanuts, mangoes, as well as petrochemicals, gold phosphates, and cement."

Due to the geographical location of Senegal and the port of Dakar as a naval base, this country and the city of Dakar can become a gateway for Iran's exports to West and Central Africa, the official stressed. Khansari also invited the head of the Dakar Chamber to visit Iran in the near future.

Elsewhere in the webinar, Hesamedin Hallaj, TCCIMA deputy head for international affairs noted that holding such events is the first step for the expansion of economic relations between the two countries. “We will try to hold similar programs and webinars in the future so that the two sides become more familiar with each other's capacities and potentials”, he said. The head of the Dakar Chamber for his part expressed his country’s readiness for expansion of cooperation with the Iranian private sector. - Tehran Times



Iran Will Restore Oil Output to Pre-Sanction Level within One Day: NISOC Chief

A senior Iranian Oil Ministry official says crude output in the country can be restored to levels recorded before the US sanctions were imposed on the country in 2018 only in a matter of a single day.

“Iran is ready to lift its mandatory reduction in oil output to bring production to 95% of the pre-sanction levels within one single day,” said Ahmad Mohammadi, who serves as the CEO of the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), on Sunday.

The Iranian government has announced it would be able to produce and sell 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and condensates in the next calendar year starting March regardless of what happens to the future of relations with the United States where a new administration is taking office this week. However, some believe Iran’s exports of oil could exceed 4 million bpd if sanctions imposed by the incumbent Donald Trump start to ease after Joe Biden takes over as US president.

NISOC, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), is responsible for oil operations at areas in southern Iran that account for more than 80% of the country’s total output.

Mohammadi said various projects have been introduced in southern oil producing regions to maintain production facilities at a good condition despite the reduced output. “(We) will ramp up the level and capacity of production in the NISOC to meet the objectives of the Oil Ministry and the NIOC in any timeframe they choose,” Mohammadi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

Reports in recent months have suggested that Iran’s exports of crude started to increase as of March as the country managed to find ways round the US sanctions to supply its oil to major customers in Asia.

Various estimates show that shipments have increased to up to 1.5 million bpd in recent months, up from below 0.5 million bpd reported after Washington toughened its oil sanctions against Iran in May 2019. - Press TV


6th Iranian Petroleum, Energy Club Congress & Exhibition to be Held Virtually

The 6th Iranian Petroleum and Energy Club Congress and Exhibition (IPEC 2021) will be held virtually on 26-28 January 2021 in Tehran, Iran at Industrial Management Institute Conference Center.
IPEC is the largest event of its kind in the middle east and has the full support and endorsement of the Ministry of Petroleum, Iran. It will examine the key topics that affect the rapidly advancing oil and gas industry throughout the country.

The coronavirus outbreak in Iran, like all countries in the world, has created special and new conditions and not only did it spark serious discussions about the effects of sanctions on countries’ economies and people’s health; It has also influenced the way many events are held. This desperation, as well as the continuation of structural changes and sanctions, prompted congressional staff to be more sensitive in the sixth term to outline new topics and select the subject of the panels.

Therefore, in addition to making changes in the method of holding the IPEC Congress, which will be part-time and online, in choosing the topic of the meetings, care has been taken to have at least one meeting on the future of oil, product and petrochemical export markets and one meeting is dedicated to the role of international cooperation in the post-Covid era.

The previous IPEC Congress were held with the presence of more than 4000 experts from local and international organizations and first class companies dealing with key issues in the oil and Gas industry. - Shana, ipeccongress


Syria Says Sanctions Disrupted Regular Iranian Oil Shipments

Syria said on Sunday it would import more crude oil to cover fuel shortages it blames on Western sanctions that disrupted regular Iranian oil shipments that had for years compensated for the country’s loss of domestic oil production as a result of conflict.

The sanction-hit country has over the past year faced months of gasoline and fuel shortages, forcing it to ration supplies distributed across government-held areas and to apply several rounds of steep price hikes.

Prime Minister Hussein Arnous did not specify how Syria would secure extra supplies but said they had already imported 1.2 million tons of Iranian crude oil that cost along with petroleum products in the last six months around US$820 million.

The shortages worsened after seven oil tankers on their way to Syria were intercepted in “terrorist attacks” with two of the vessels delayed for over a month in the Red Sea before loading, Arnous was quoted as saying in state media without elaborating.

The fuel shortages come at a time the country is in the throes of an economic crisis, amid a collapsing currency and inflation sky-rocketing, aggravating hardships for ordinary Syrians battered by years of war.

Arnous said his country now produced only 20,000 bpd with around 400,000 bpd lost from oil fields in northeastern Syria now under the control of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spearheaded by the Kurdish Syrian YPG militia.

“We have become dependent on imported oil and we have used up foreign currency in large amounts to pay for petroleum products,” Arnous told deputies in a speech to Parliament.

Damascus blames Washington for the country’s dependence on imports. Syria has in recent years grown more dependent on Iranian oil shipments but tightening sanctions on Iran, Syria and their allies and a foreign currency crunch has made it more difficult to get enough supplies in the past year, industry experts say.

The country’s ability to finance imports has also been curtailed by a financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon where billions of dollars held by Syrian businessmen were frozen by its hard-hit banks, businessmen and bankers say. - Reuters