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Azerbaijan’s SOCAR reviving Iran deals

Azerbaijan’s SOCAR reviving Iran deals Energy

Azerbaijan’s state oil firm SOCAR says it is looking to revive trade with Iran as the two neighbors are strengthening relations after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. 

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to give impetus to bilateral rapprochement, marked by the signing of 11 documents for cooperation.

SOCAR Chief Executive Rovnag Abdullayev and Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Roknoddin Javadi signed an MoU for cooperation.

SOCAR also signed a memorandum for cooperation with Ghadir Investment Company in the fields of oil, gas and petrochemical products.

"We have been actively trading with NIOC in the Caspian Sea region, until international sanctions forced us to discontinue such deliveries. There is a great potential to explore," CEO of SOCAR Trading Araz Azimov said.

Other possibilities include trading refined products with Iran in the Persian Gulf, where SOCAR has storage facilities in the UAE port of Fujairah, Azimov told Reuters.

“One option was to supply Iran with gasoline and to buy naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG),” the news agency quoted Azimov as saying.

Chief Executive of SOCAR Trading Araz Azimov 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the two countries negotiated joint production of oil and gas resources in the Caspian Sea.

“Regarding energy, we held constructive talks on the issues of oil and gas, power exchange, as well as joint production of oil and gas resources in the Caspian Sea,” he said.

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said cooperation among Caspian states would cut the cost of oil and gas production and their transfer to the international market.

In their talks, officials of the two countries discussed boosting oil and gas swap. Azerbaijan is already supplying gas to Iran’s northern provinces in exchange for Iranian gas to Azerbaijan’s autonomous Nakhchivan Republic.  

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani chair the signing of 11 MoUs in Tehran, Feb. 23, 2016. ©IRNA 

Iran is also considering raising its stake in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field. Naftiran Intertrade Co, a NIOC subsidiary, holds a 10% stake in the Shah Deniz field, estimated to contain 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas.

Production from Shah Deniz in the Caspian Sea off Azerbaijan began in 2006 but it is undergoing further development in a project worth $2 billion.

Iran and Azerbaijan have also been working on the North-South transport corridor, which is expected to connect Northern Europe to Southeast Asia.

Rouhani said the corridor will be operational by connecting the Iranian Astara to Astara in Azerbaijan by the end of 2016.

The rail link is designed to carry transit cargo and passengers from India, Iran and other Persian Gulf countries to Russia and onward to Northern and Western Europe.

Rouhani said Iran and Azerbaijan further discussed cooperation in the fields of insurance, banking and joint investment, particularly in the Aras, Anzali and Maku free trade zones, as well as tourism, shipping and aviation.

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