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State energy statistics in the Islamic Republic of Iran are closely guarded state secrets.
Deputy Oil Minister Mohsen Khojasteh-Mehr has told the Iranian media that "Currently, the total value of the Iranian National Oil Company's assets is estimated to be about $200 billion. Meanwhile, if the financial and credit resources are absorbed, the revenue of the National Iranian Oil Company will increase to $350 billion by 21 March 2015.
Khojasteh-Mehr indirectly acknowledged the damaging effect that international sanctions have had to upgrading the country’s energy infrastructure, stating that new investments of around $150 billion must be made to implement various upstream and downstream projects in the Islamic Republic’s Fifth Development Plan, commenting, "This year (starting 21 March 2011), a $5 billion investment is required for crude oil and natural gas production capacity maintenance projects."
In 2010 higher global energy prices boosted Iran’s energy export revenues by at least $10 billion over its 2009 levels, but the country’s inefficient state sector still relies heavily on revenues from its oil exports, which continue to provide the majority of the government’s revenues. Iran’s attempts to modernize its economy have been hobbled by the sanctions imposed on it, initially instituted by the U.S. in the wake of the 1979 revolution, but more recently added to by the U.N. Security Council over concerns about the possible implications of the nation’s civilian nuclear energy programs.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com