Trade visit to Iran

November 18, 1999, 08:00 CET

An official Norwegian trade delegation with Statoil representation is due to visit Iran from 19-22 November.

This is the first trip to be made to the Middle Eastern nation by the Norwegian authorities in the company of industry representatives since diplomatic relations were broken off in 1994.

"Taking part in the delegation could help to make us better known in Iran," comments Siv Berntsen, vice president for new ventures in International Exploration & Production. She will be representing Statoil in the 20-strong group.

The visit is a follow-up for Statoil, which had meetings in Iran during the first week of November.

Over the past six months, the group has been analysing Iranian resource opportunities and buy-back deals. The latter allow participants to be paid for their work in the form of oil or gas, since Iranian law prohibits foreign companies from owning natural resources.

According to Ms Berntsen, the most interesting area for Statoil is on land in the southern part of the country.

The group is due to complete its evaluation by the end of the year, and to decide in the first quarter of 2000 whether or not to make a commitment.

Saga Petroleum and Norsk Hydro are also represented in the trade delegation. As Saga's new owner, Hydro plans to continue the negotiations being pursued by the former company over two Iranian fields on land.

Royal Dutch/Shell was this week awarded two of the 42 buy-back projects currently on offer in Iran. This involves reactivating two offshore fields.

With 90 billion barrels in proven oil reserves, Iran is one of the world's biggest sources of petroleum, and oil production costs are low.