Ministry of Petroleum (Iran)
Since its creation in 1981,, the Ministry of Petroleum has been responsible for all upstream oil and gas projects in Iran, encompassing both production and export infrastructure. Before the Ministry's creation, the National Iranian Oil Company had been the one authority responsible for all petroleum activities in the industry.
The Ministry of Petroleum coordinates all industry-related activities including exploration, engineering, construction, refining, transportation, distribution, services and research. The ministry has seven affiliated companies, the biggest among them the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), and the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC). It also maintains control over the the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC), the Oil Industry Investment Company (OIIC), and the company for Oil Industries Engineering and Construction (OIEC).
As of January 2012, the director of the Ministry of Petroleum was Rostam Qasemi, who was appointed to the position in August 2011 after a protracted dispute within the Iranian leadership, which began after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried to take direct control of the ministry himself. Prior to his appointment, Qasemi had been a commander in the engineering wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He was placed on the US sanctions list in January 2010 and the EU sanctions list in June of the same year.
Role of Ministry of Petroleum
The Petroleum Act of 1987 summarises the ministry's main competencies and responsibilities, which include: assuring proper management of oil and gas reserves; enhancing local technical skills with the ultimate objective of self-sufficiency and independence from foreign expertise; supervising the oil, natural gas, refinery and petrochemical industries; and planning major projects and allocating necessary financing for capital investments and operations. The ministry supervises all its affiliated companies and their relevant subsidiaries and represents Iran in international petroleum associations and global energy markets; and, according to the 2011 Imports and Exports Regulation Act, issues import licenses for crude oil and its refined products.
Within the Ministry of Petroleum, the NIOC is exclusively responsible for the exploration, extraction, transportation and exportation of crude oil, as well as sales of natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to Iran's Fourth Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan, ratified in 2004, the government was required to transfer at least 10% of the activities related to the exploration, extraction and production of crude oil to the private sector, while retaining its ownership of oil resources. This was also the case in other fields of the Ministry of Petroleum's activities.
Petroleum Act of 1987: www.alaviandassociates.com/documents/petroleum.pdf
Fourth Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan: en.tpo.ir/UserFiles/File/fourth%20plan.pdf
Links to publicly available Iranian legislation: www.lexadin.nl/wlg/legis/nofr/oeur/lxweira.htm
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