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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and the country’s Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina are set to visit Iran next month, Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Asadzadeh said, according to the Information Agency of the Islamic Republic, in a move that could result in a powerful collaboration that could shift global energy markets.
Novak is set to attend the 27th International Exhibition of Oil, Gas, and Petrochemicals in Iran that is scheduled for mid-May, and is scheduled to sign cooperation documents at that time as well.
Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji and Novak also discussed on Monday bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.
The news comes as Iran and Russia ties have increased over the last year, particularly as both nations found themselves sanctioned trading partner pariahs to the rest of the world—the former due to the nuclear deal failure, and the latter due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Last July, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian gas company Gazprom worth nearly $40 billion. The deal was signed by NIOC and Gazprom CEOs on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.
The MoU included the expansion of the Kish and North Pars gas fields, the enhancement of the South Pars field, the development of six new oilfields, increased gas and product swaps, the completion of various liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, and the construction of gas export pipelines, to name a few.
Among the mentioned items, Russian investment in Iran’s oil and gas fields is especially crucial for Tehran.
Iran has an estimated 157 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves—nearly 10% of the world’s total, according to Simon Watkins, with even greater proven gas reserves of 1,193 Tcf, second only to Russia and 17% of the world’s total.
Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves at 1,688 Tcf, with 80 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, making the Iran/Russia duo a powerful global oil and gas force.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.