International Entities in Iran
International companies face severe restrictions in their ability to engage in commercial activity in Iran as result of international sanctions. According to the International Energy Agency in early 2011, Chinese national oil companies are the major investors in Iran's oil and gas industry, a task made easier by the exclusion of most international competitors by sanctions.
Chinese activity in Iran
Since 2009, three Chinese state companies - China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) - have made major investments in Iran and established a significant presence in the country. These include investments in onshore oil and gas fields, such as the North Azadegan and the Yadavaran oil fields, as well as stakes in the offshore North and South Pars gas fields, the latter of which could supply China with large quantities of gas. Specifically, CNPC has signed a $4.7 billion agreement to develop Phase 11 of the South Pars field; and as of February 2011 CNOOC was in talks to finalise a $16 billion deal to develop the North Pars gas field as well as build an LNG plant. CNPC was also in talks with Iran for a $3.6 billion deal to buy LNG from Phase 14 of South Pars project, and the company had begun to explore and develop energy reserves in Iran’s Caspian region. However, due to a mix of technological and administrative challenges, partly deriving from the difficulty posed by sanctions, little progress had been made on most of these projects as of January 2012.
Additional international companies in Iran
Many international companies have cancelled their involvement in Iran's oil and gas sector in response to sanctions and unattractive energy deals.
In March 2010, the United States Government Accountability Office issued a report on companies identified as having commercial activity in the Iranian oil, gas or petrochemical sectors (below); since then, however, many of these companies have abandoned their oil and gas deals with Iran.
Oil exploration and production
Amona (Malaysia); Belneftekhim (Belarus); China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec (China); Edison, Eni (Italy); Gazprom, Lukoil (Russia); Hinduja (UK); Ina (Croatia); Inpex (Japan); Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (India); Petrobras (Brazil); Statoil (Norway).
China National Petroleum Corporation, CNOOC (China); Costain Oil, Gas & Process (UK); Daelim, DS (South Korea); Indian Oil Corporation, Oil India, ONGC Videsh, Petronet LNG (India); OMV (Austria); Petrofield, SKS Ventures (Malaysia); Petroleos de Venezuela (Venezuela); PGNiG (Poland); PTT Exploration & Production (Thailand); Repsol (Spain); Shell (Netherlands); Hinduja (UK); Ina (Croatia); Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (India); Statoil (Norway).
- "Overseas Investments by China’s National Oil Companies" International Energy Agency, February 2011.
- "China’s Iranian Oil Dilemma" Transatlantic Academy, 26 January 2012.
- "Iran struggles over its gas field riches" Financial Times, 30 July 2010.
- "Firms Reported in Open Sources as Having Commercial Activity in Iran’s Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Sectors" United States Government Accountability Office, 23 March 2010.
- "Iran: A Natural Gas Giant" Viable Opposition blog, 29 November 2011.