TEHRAN, May 6, 2014 (AFP) – Iran’s annual oil and gas fair opens in Tehran on Tuesday, with 600 foreign companies seeking to position themselves for a return to large-scale operations if international sanctions are lifted. “I hope that Western officials will be more accommodating because of the general political climate in Iran,” he said, noting his company had maintained a local presence to be ready to react if sanctions are lifted.
Hatef Haeri, a Tehran-based energy expert with the ICG consultancy group, said this year’s stronger foreign presence at the fair indicated better conditions for deals.
“The energy market in Iran is huge,” he said. “With a five-year plan for $150 billion of investment, some of this must come from abroad.”
Iran has the world’s fourth highest oil reserves and the second highest gas deposits, behind Russia.
However, a second economic expert based in Tehran who will attend the fair, was more cautious, stating the world’s biggest oil companies would not send global representatives. With some of the world’s biggest oil and gas reserves, the industry is the cornerstone of Iran’s economy, but it was heavily hit by an American and European embargo on the energy and banking sectors in