TEHRAN, Jan. 18 (Mehr News Agency) - Iran is examining proposed foreign investments of up to $20 billion in its energy sector, Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said on Monday.
"We are in talks with some foreign companies which had proposed such investments to finance our energy projects in buy-back or direct investment methods, Mirkazemi added, without giving any further detail on the foreign investors.
"Currently, proposals on investment by foreign companies in Iran''s oil and gas sector are being examined, whose value upon approval might be up to $20 billion," Mirkazemi was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.
Iran's Alborz Oil Platform for oil explorations in Caspian Sea
National budget sees $65 oil price
Mirkazemi also suggested the government''s budget for 2010-11, due to be put forward to parliament soon, may be based on an oil price of $65.
The average price for Iran''s oil since the beginning of the Iranian year which started in March 2009 was about $63 a barrel.
"We sold our oil at $35 a barrel at the beginning of the year but the price is now more than $76 and we are hopeful that the average price of our oil will stand at between $67-68 by the end of the year," he said.
Western firms are increasingly wary of investing in the major oil producer due to an international row over Tehran''s nuclear program, but companies from energy-hungry Asian economies are seen as less susceptible to such pressures.
Analysts say Iran, the world''s fifth-largest oil exporter, needs capital to help expand and modernize its energy industry. It also sits on the world''s second- largest gas reserves.
Oil traded at about $78 a barrel on international markets on Monday, still down from a mid-2008 peak of around $147 despite a recovery since early 2009.
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