Japan Out of Iranian Oil Project

A0194111.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- An informed source said that as negotiations about Azadegan oil field development have entered their final stages it appears that Japan has not succeeded in attracting Iran’s positive attention for keeping the Japanese Inpex as a partner and that Tokyo seems to be evicted from the project.

The source who is privy to the ongoing talks between Japanese Inpex and Iran’s National Oil Company on the extension of Azadegan Oil Field, told FNA’s economic desk that negotiations have entered the final stages, “and while the two sides are about to wrap up talks today, Japanese officials failed to persuade Iranian officials to extend Tehran’s deadline to Inpex to commence execution of the project.”

“Yet, Inpex is still insisting on an extended deadline, while Iranian oil officials have already stated their 100-percent opposition to any such option, a trend meaning that the Japanese will have to say good bye to multi-billion-dollar project,” he continued.

Meantime, the source said that Japanese officials, including the new Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari, have declared that in case any sanctions are imposed on Iran, “Tokyo will follow suit.”

He also viewed transfer of a small portion of the contract to Inpex as unlikely, saying that the measure would not yield much profit for the Japanese company.

The source said that Iranian companies enjoy the capabilities required for the extension of the field and that the same idea has persuaded Iranian officials to put Inpex aside, after the Japanese stopped short of commencing the project.

Japan’s new Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari said on Saturday that Tokyo hopes to continue talks with Iran on tapping the Azadegan oil field beyond the Saturday deadline set by Tehran for the nation’s participation.

“I don’t believe Iran is really willing to stop talks so easily at this time,” Amari said, noting that Iran should clear land mines around the oil field and stop its uranium enrichment program so the project can start.

No matter Tehran accepts the first condition or not, it may never give up its enrichment activities as dangerous threats and pressures of the western powers could not force Iran to stop its nuclear plans. Hence, it seems that Iran should now think of a new partner for its Azadegan oil field.

Japan’s Inpex Corp. was granted a concession to develop Azadegan, one of the largest oil fields in the world, with expected production of 260,000 barrels a day. But Inpex has not started on the project because of international pressures being exerted over Iran’s nuclear activities, and the firm’s claim that land mines also pose a hindrance.

Iran has threatened to turn to China and Russia and cancel the Inpex concession if Japan fails to start by the deadline, which has been pushed back repeatedly, from the originally set Aug. 22 to Sept. 15, and then to yesterday.

Amari called on Tehran to abide by the United Nations resolution calling on Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment efforts, so the oil field project can get under way, meaning that this is the end to Iran-Japan contract on the development of Azadegan oil field.

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