Chinese companies have widely presented in Iran's 16th International Oil, Gas, Refining & petrochemical Exhibition (Iran Oil Show 2011) which opened on April 15 and will run to April 19.
"This year, 166 Chinese companies are present at the fair compared to 100 companies last year," AFP reported quoting a senior oil ministry official as saying.
"The number of foreign companies are up 35 percent," to 496 out of the total 1,550, he said.
He said that despite sanctions, "Germany is present with 64 companies, Italy with 36, Britain with 37, Spain with 14, France with 15 and South Korea with 33 companies."
Major Western energy groups such as Total of France, Norwegian Statoil and OMV of Austria, who have withdrawn from Iran, made a "symbolic" appearance at the fair.
In recent years, Chinese companies have claimed many contracts in absence of Western firms.
"The strong participation of foreign companies is a response to the illusion of (Western) sanctions," the official said.
Related News: International Oil Expo Opens in Tehran
Iran is OPEC's second-largest oil exporter, with production of 3.7 million barrels per day.
Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said earlier Friday that the country has "oil reserves of around 155 billion barrels and 33 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves."
He also said that, by 2015, Iran would invest "$150 billion (104 billion euros) in upstream and $50 billion in downstream" projects to develop its energy sector.
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