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Iran calls on Chinese to enter multi-billion-dollar energy deals

Tehran Times Economic Desk

TEHRAN - Iran is calling on China to get involved in deals in several huge oil projects worth more than $42.8 billion in a bid to boost its crude refining capacity and expand bilateral economic relations.

The projects touted by Tehran comprise upgrades and expansions of refineries, construction of seven new ones and building a 1,640-kilometer oil pipeline from Neka on the Caspian Sea in the north to Jask on the Gulf of Oman in the south, the Chinese South Post Morning daily reported.

The bulk of the investment - $30 billion - being sought by the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company was for the seven new refineries in the west of the country, the daily further said.

The Iranian government is offering sweeteners to attract investment for its projects, such as a 5 percent discount on the price of crude fed to the refineries, an eight-year tax exemption, and free and unlimited transfer by foreign investors of their profits from the projects.

The most attractive component is that foreign investors will be entitled to raise their equity holding by up to 80 percent in all the new refinery projects and even higher for existing refineries that will be privatized.

China is actively hitting the international market for commodities such as copper, iron ore and oil to feed the country's roaring economic growth and better preserve the value of its $2 trillion foreign exchange reserves against the volatility of major world currencies, the daily added.

National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company Managing Director Seyyed Noureddin Shahnazizadeh said in a conference in Beijing on Tuesday on Iran's oil refining industry, "They will come to Iran to get in touch with us and invest in the oil refining sector," adding, "We are also ready to invest by building new refineries in China."

On the sidelines of the conference, Shahnazizadeh inked an MOU with China's Sinopec Corp. for the development of Iran's Abadan and Hormoz refineries, SHANA reported on Friday.

In January, National Iranian Oil Company and China National Petroleum Corporation signed a $1.76 billion contract for developing Iran's North Azadegan Oilfield. The field has estimated reserves of 6 billion barrels of oil and can produce 75,000 barrels per day for 25 years, according to the Iranian Oil Ministry.

... Payvand News - 07/11/09 ... --

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