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Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said that U.S. oil companies willing to do business in Iran will not be banned from doing so. The remark, quoted by local and international media, comes on the heels of a Friday executive order signed by Donald Trump that suspended the visa processing and entry into the U.S. of people from seven Muslim-majority states: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The suspension order will be in effect for three months when it concerns entry into the country. When it concerns the resettlement of refugees from these states, bar Syria, it will be in effect for four months. Refugees from Syria are banned from resettlement in the U.S. indefinitely. The order also covers legal residents of the U.S. who are citizens of any of the seven countries, so if they leave, they won’t be allowed to come back for the duration of the order.
Earlier this month, the National Iranian Oil Company issued a list of 29 foreign oil companies that have been approved for participation in oil and gas tenders, to be held later in the year. Interestingly, one of the companies on the list was U.S. Schlumberger – the only U.S. company to be approved as a bidder.
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Yet, Zanganeh, as quoted by the AP, said that no American oil companies have so far “directly applied” for participation in Iran’s energy industry recovery. Schlumberger is not an E&P business, which may explain the remark. Another list of approved companies is due to be released later, it recently emerged, with three Russian companies to be included in it, among others.
Following the lifting of Western sanctions last year, Iran has already struck deals with Lukoil, Total, CNPC and Sinopec, and Petronas for the development of oil and gas fields. Total is working on the huge offshore South Pars field; Petronas is drilling for oil at South Azadegan and Sheshmeh Hosh; and CNPC and Sinopec are developing Yadavaran and North Azadegan.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.