0749 GMT December 17, 2017
Abbas Shari-Moqadam told IRNA that new deals with reputable firms in the upstream sector of the oil industry will stimulate cooperation between other companies and the Islamic Republic.
Shari-Moqadam, who is the former managing director of the state-owned National Petrochemical Company (NPC), said such agreements will contribute to economic prosperity and promote domestic know-how.
He noted that the accords will generate jobs and increase revenues.
Any delays in signing and implementing such deals, he cautioned, will hinder the exploitation of reserves from joint South Pars Gas Field which the Islamic Republic shares with Qatar.
The economic expert added that any delay will also provide Iran's neighbors with an opportunity to increase the tapping of energy resources.
South Pars Gas Field, which is located in the Persian Gulf, holds the bulk of Iran's natural gas reserves. The joint field — called the North Dome in Qatar — is the world's biggest with estimated reserves of 51 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and some 50 billion barrels of condensate.
Shari-Moqadam noted that investments must be made in petrochemical projects to purchase modern equipment to tap the potentials of joint energy fields.
Iran has so far developed many phases of South Pars and is seeking to lure foreign investment to complete other phases.
The former NPC chief pointed to domestic capabilities in the energy sector, noting that 90 percent of oil equipment can be produced domestically.
Iran has signed a flurry of deals with Western companies over the past year since the easing of international sanctions on Tehran after an accord was reached over its nuclear program.
Iran needs foreign investment to repair and upgrade its oil and gas fields. It also seeks the transfer of technology to its oil industry following a decade of sanctions.
In November 2016, France's Total became the first oil major to sign a big deal with Tehran since the lifting of sanctions and agreed to help it develop South Pars.
Shell signed a provisional deal in December to develop Iranian oil and gas fields of South Azadegan, Yadavaran and Kish.
Iran has named more than two dozen companies from various countries as being eligible to bid for oil and gas projects using the new, less restrictive contract model.
The firms include Shell, France's Total, Italy's Eni, Malaysia's Petronas and Russia's Gazprom and Lukoil, as well as companies from China, Austria, Japan and other countries.