The 19th International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition of Iran (Iran Oil Show 2014) opened in Tehran on Tuesday with over 600 foreign companies from 32 countries in attendance. Over 1,200 Iranian companies are also participating in the exhibition.
The foreign participants are mainly from Austria, Belgium, China, France, Russia, the United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, India, Germany, and Italy.
Consultation companies, spare part manufacturers, technical and engineering service providers, oil processing equipment producers, fuel saving organizations, and research and development companies will showcase their latest achievements in the exhibition, which runs until Friday.
The foreign companies are seeking to position themselves for a return to large-scale operations in Iran if the international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program are lifted.
With some of the world's biggest oil and gas reserves, the industry is the cornerstone of Iran's economy. However, it was hit by a U.S. and European embargo on the energy and banking sectors in 2012.
Major energy firms have since left or been stifled from doing business because of the economic sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh have said in recent months that Iran would benefit from the investment and technology transfer that international oil companies can deliver.
Regional representatives from France's Total and the German conglomerate Siemens are among the 600 foreign companies registered for the Iran Oil Show 2014, according to government officials.
The number of registrants is three times higher than in 2013, Akbar Nematollahi, a spokesman for the Iranian Oil Ministry, told AFP.
"Total and Siemens will be represented by their regional officials, and Chinese companies are present this year," Nematollahi said.
Under an interim deal signed in November by Iran and the six world powers -- known as the 5+1 group -- which came into effect on January 20, Iran's oil exports are supposed to be held to an average of 1 million barrels per day through July 20.
Gasoline imports to be halted by March 2015
On Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Iran Oil Show 2014, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that the country will halt gasoline imports as of the next Iranian calendar year, which begins on March 21, 2015.
On April 21, National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company Managing Director Abbas Kazemi said two gasoline production units will come on stream in Iran in Iranian calendar year 1393, which began on March 21, 2014.
Daily gasoline consumption hit an all-time record high of 100.7 million liters in Iran on April 1.
Iranians consumed around 1.5 billion liters of gasoline between March 18 and April 4.
On March 5, National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company Managing Director Mostafa Kashkouli said Iran would triple gasoline imports in the current Iranian calendar year since domestic petrochemical units had halted gasoline production.
He added that 10 to 11 million liters of gasoline would be imported per day in the year 1393.
Crude oil output projected to rise by 1 million bpd
Zanganeh also said that the country's crude oil output is projected to rise by 1 million barrels per day over the next four years.
On March 12, Zanganeh said Iran's crude oil output was forecast to increase by about 200,000 barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day, and its daily natural gas output was forecast to increase by about 100 million cubic meters per day to 400 million cubic meters per day in Iranian calendar year 1393 (March 2014- March 2015).
The country is currently exporting about 1.2 million barrels per day and has projected 1.5 million barrels of daily sales in the national budget for the year 1393, which includes 300,000 barrels of condensates.
Iran is estimated to hold 33.7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 157 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves.
Thus, Iran possesses the world's second largest reserves of natural gas and the world's fourth largest reserves of crude oil.
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