Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image Iran oilfields need $100bn to hit capacity target

Dubai: 28 May 207

Iran’s oilfields need at least $100 billion worth of foreign investment over the next decade to boost output by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to 5 million bpd, a senior Iranian oil official said.

Extensive exploration, further development of Iran’s oilfields and increasing recovery rates via advanced technology are a must if the country is to hit its capacity target, said Abdollmohammad Delparish, planning manager at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

“For this goal we need partnership with foreign companies — and the $100 billion is a very conservative estimate,” he said. “Internal investment will only cover a quarter of our financial needs.”

The investment projection comes at a time when the US is seeking to squeeze Opec’s second biggest producer over its nuclear programme. Washington is pressuring foreign companies to steer clear of the Islamic Republic.

Other Iranian officials downplayed the need for outside help in the country that pumps about 4 million bpd. Iran was cranking out six million bpd before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, rates that proved unsustainable.

“There’s no capital shortage in NIOC,” said Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh. “We need a little more courage and a little less procedure to spend our future capital.”

Potential investors said they were prepared to strike deals with Iran, home to the world’s second biggest oil and gas reserves, provided commercial terms were right and political tensions had eased.

Foreign firms often complain about the terms of Iran’s so-called buy back deals which they say are not particularly generous. NIOC has sweetened the terms, but executives say Tehran has not gone far enough.

Under the buy back scheme, companies hand over operations of fields to NIOC after development and then receive payment from oil or gas production for a few years to cover their investment.

“Iran is its own worst enemy. International oil companies are willing to invest if the conditions are right and they get a decent rate of return,” said Mehdi Varzi, president of consultancy Varzi Energy in London.

But political pressure is now making some major European companies hesitate.

Two European investors — Total and Royal Dutch Shell — have signalled the standoff between the West and Iran over its disputed nuclear programme could influence their new investment decisions. Reuters and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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