Foreign energy firms and contractors have to accept Iran’s new terms and conditions if they return to work in the country, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday.
“If foreign companies come (to Iran), we will cooperate with them, but it doesn’t mean that we would abandon what we have achieved,” Iranian Tasnim News Agency reported, quoting the minister as saying on the sidelines of a ceremony on the signing of contracts with local firms to boost Iran’s crude oil production capacity.
Foreign oil companies and contractors, however, are not particularly eager to work with Iran, considering the current sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and exports.
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the so-called nuclear deal in 2018, slapping sanctions on Iran’s oil, shipping, and banking industries and threatening sanctions on anyone dealing with Iran. Major foreign companies, such as France’s oil supermajor Total, hastened to pull out of energy projects in Iran because of potential secondary U.S. sanctions for doing business with the Islamic Republic.
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to offer Iran a path back to diplomacy and a return to the nuclear deal. If the U.S. and Iran return to a path of diplomacy, there is a chance that the strict U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports could be eased, potentially paving the way for around 2 million bpd of Iranian crude oil exports returning to the market.
Last month, Iranian authorities seemed confident they could be able to sell as much as 2.3 million bpd of oil in the next Iranian year that begins in March 2021, according to Iran’s budget bill.
Last week, Iran said that the U.S. should pay Tehran as much as US$70 billion as compensation for lost oil revenues due to the U.S. sanctions, as a prerequisite for a return to the nuclear deal.
On Monday, Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for International Affairs, said that the U.S. must lift the sanctions on Iran before returning to the nuclear deal.