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EU Officials Exploring Energy Cooperation in Tehran
A European energy delegation arrived in Tehran to explore ways of expanding energy ties following the removal of the international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The delegation headed by Gerassimos Thomas, deputy director general at the European Commission's Energy Directorate, is holding meetings with officials from oil and energy ministry as well as the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Mutual cooperation in energy sector is being discussed in the meetings, the Iranian foreign ministry said, adding that the two parties will set a cooperation roadmap in oil, gas, and renewable energies as well as increasing energy efficiency.

Earlier European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias, commenting on the visit, said that the European Commission will undertake "technical assessment mission" in the field of energy.

Also, an EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that around 15 EU officials would go on the initial four-day technical visit and after that, high-level Commission staff, possibly with a business delegation, would travel to Iran.

The visiting team also hopes to finalize agreements for close cooperation between the EC and Iran in oil and gas industry, power generation, renewable energies and improving the efficiency of energy use.

Energy is one of the main sectors on which the European Union wants to work with Iran as part of long-term, strategic ties, following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a lasting nuclear deal between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain and France plus Germany).

Earlier this year, European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete had announced plans for cooperation with Iran in the shipment of gas supplies to southern Europe through a route known as the "Southern Gas Corridor".

Iran could become a major supplier of natural gas to the European Union by the end of the next decade, according to new estimates from the bloc’s executive following the nuclear deal reached with Tehran this summer.

The European Commission now believes that the bloc could import between 25 billion and 35 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Iran by 2030, according to a European official and a representative of a European energy company.

Western governments and energy companies have been positioning themselves to once again tap Iran’s rich oil and gas reserves since the prospects of a nuclear deal - and a resulting removal of sanctions on Tehran - improved earlier this year.

Earlier this month, the EU’s energy and climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Casete, held a lunch meeting with delegates from European energy companies, including RWE AG , E.On AG , BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Repsol SA, Total SA, Engie SA and Statoil AS A to discuss possibilities in Iran.

The get-together followed contacts between commission staff and officials in Tehran, the European official said, as well as recent visits to Iran by ministers from the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Germany and Spain, among others.

“We want our companies to go there and invest big time before the Americans and the Chinese,” said the official.

Feb 20, 2016 22:48
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