As President Hassan Rouhani is preparing to start his second term in office, Russia has indicated its eagerness to expand economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic.
The Kremlin announced in a statement that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin discussed the prospects for implementing joint projects in a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
The Kremlin said Putin had specifically talked about doing “projects in the oil and gas, electricity and transport sectors,” Reuters reported.
The two leaders had also discussed several issues of mutual interest with each other including the latest status of the war in Syria as well as the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement.
Iran had already announced that it would welcome the participation of Russian corporations in the development of its oil and gas fields.
Earlier, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) announced that it had received a proposal from the Moscow-based energy giant Gazprom over a key oil scheme – Changuleh – located in western Iran close to the border with Iraq.
Gazprom has also signed an agreement with a major Iranian contractor company – the Oil Industries’ Engineering and Construction (OIEC) – to cooperate over Changuleh as well as Azar oil field which is believed to be shared with Iraq’s Badra.
Azar and Changuleh were discovered in 2005 as a result of explorations conducted by a consortium comprising Russia’s Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil. Both fields – together with Iraq’s Badra – are believed to hold an in-place reserve of about 3.5 billion barrels.
Russia is also pursuing an ambitious multimodal transportation project – the North South Transport Corridor (NTSC) – which connects India’s Mumbai to Saint Petersburg and beyond. Iran lies at the heart of the NTSC which is seen as a cheaper and faster rival to the existing transportation routes through which goods are shipped from Europe to Southeast Asia through the Suez Canal.