Wed, Feb 20, 2008
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Forex Reserves
Put at $70b
Giant Onshore Oilfield Begins Production
Diesel Imports From Singapore Up
Azerbaijan Supplying Gas
Iralco IPOs Relaunched
Turkey Power Deal Likely
IKIA Phase 1 Shy of Rls3 Trillion
Urban Rehabs on Agenda

Forex Reserves
Put at $70b
Foreign exchange reserves will reach $80 billion by March, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iran for foreign exchange affairs forecast. Reza Raei, who was appointed to the post in December, put the current hard currency reserves at $70 billion. Most foreign exchange reserves are in euros and a small part of them are in yen or dollar, according to Fars news agency.
Oil transactions by OPEC’s second largest producer are no longer conducted in dollars since ’the greenback is unreliable’.
For nearly two years, world’s fourth biggest exporter has been reducing its reliance on the dollar, saying the weak US currency is eroding its purchasing power. Tehran is now fetching roughly $87 a barrel on daily sales of 2.4 million barrels of crude.
Earlier, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the state owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said less than 20 percent of Iran’s oil export earnings are in yen and the rest in euros.
“Since oil revenues constitute most of country’s foreign exchange reserves, the sum is expected to increase given the rising world crude prices,“ said Raei, who is also a university professor.
Meanwhile, ISNA quoted Economic Information Center (NIC) as saying that Iran’s foreign debts would fall by two billion dollars in the next five years.
According to NIC’s February report, total foreign debts of the country were $20.1 billion (nine percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year. The figure is estimated to reach $20.7 billion (8.1 percent of GDP) this year.
The figure would be $20 billion and $19.1 billion during the years to March 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Iran would have foreign debts of $18.4 billion (five percent of its GDP) during the year to March 2011 and $18.1 (4.1 percent of GDP) in 2012.
As oil prices are higher than $90 per barrel, state treasury is flush with oil revenues. High oil earnings render solid backing to the country’s current assets and bode well for the aim of meeting the government short-term obligations, a policy which is in line with instituting economic reforms and has the full support of high-ranking official.
In a directive approved by the government in 2005, CBI has been mandated to control the level of foreign obligations and debts so as not to exceed $30 billion during the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2005-2010).

Giant Onshore Oilfield Begins Production
Azadegan oilfield has proven oil reserves of 33 billion barrels.
Oil production from Azadegan, one of the world’s largest onshore oilfields, has begun, a senior Oil Ministry official announced.
“Currently, 20,000 barrels of light and heavy crude are being produced per day from the field,“ Seifollah Jashnsaz, managing director of National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), was quoted by IRIB as saying on Monday.
In May, NISOC’s technical and engineering director said that oil production from the oilfield will begin within the next six months.
Hassan Shokrollahzadeh stated that a drilling rig has already been put into operation in the oilfield, the largest discovered in the country in the past 35 years.
He noted that the project to lay 1,800 km of pipeline to transfer oil to exploitation units has begun.
Azadegan has proven oil reserves of 33 billion barrels and this is expected to increase to 40 billion barrels.
The field is being developed by Petroiran Development Company, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company following the collapse of Iran’s partnership with Japanese firm Inpex in 2006.
A project to develop the oilfield, covering an area of 1,400 square kilometers, was initially signed between NIOC and Japan’s Inpex in February 2003.
The share of the company was then slashed from 75 percent to 10 percent following the delay by Tokyo in meeting its commitments after two and a half years of negotiations.
The oilfield, shared with Iraq, is located some 80 km west of the capital city Ahvaz and was discovered in 1999.
It is estimated that the oilfield, once operational, will produce 260,000 barrels of crude per day.
Iran, the world’s fourth oil producer, aims to increase its output from the current level of over four million barrels per day (bpd) to 5.6 million bpd in seven years.

Diesel Imports From Singapore Up
Azerbaijan Supplying Gas
Iran is importing 250,000 tons of diesel from Singapore in February, up from 200,000 tons bought in January as freezing conditions raised demand for heating and power generation, industry sources said on Tuesday.
The OPEC member has been buying diesel from Singapore since early this year, after India’s Reliance halted supplies last year when French banks BNP Paribas and Calyon suspended credits for the deals, company and industry sources said.
“Consumption goes up significantly particularly during winter. It is very cold this year,“ an Iranian source was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Iran is expected to continue buying diesel from Singapore even after winter, with volumes ranging from 40,000 to 80,000 tons a month, sources said.
Meanwhile, Iran started importing one million cubic meters of gas daily from Azerbaijan, in a bid to help compensate for shortages caused by a cut in Turkmen deliveries, MNA reported.
The gas import began about 20 days ago and is being used to supply part of the national gas network, especially in the northwestern provinces such as Ardebil and Azerbaijan, Ebadollah Qambari, spokesman for National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said.
The supplies will be in addition to a daily 1.1 million cubic meters of Azeri gas deliveries for swap through Iran to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, said the official.
Qambari added that gas import is not a substitute for gas supplies that were halted from Turkmenistan, which stopped its daily exports of 23 million cubic meters to Iran in December at the height of the cold season, citing technical problems.
The stoppage, which took place at a time Iran experienced unprecedented freezing weather, left many Iranians in northern and northwestern provinces without gas for over two weeks.
To supply domestic demand, Tehran was forced to halt supply to Turkey.
“The price of gas from Azerbaijan is $300 per thousand cubic meters, which is almost the same as the cost of imports from Turkmenistan.“
Azerbaijan and Iran reached an agreement on gas swaps two years ago. The amount of gas exchanged is around 1.1 million cubic meters daily.
Turkmenistan had not as yet resumed its deliveries but that the NIGC was reviewing the Central Asian republic’s new price proposals, he noted.
On Iran’s gas export to Turkey, Qambari said the export is increasing and this increase is based on conditions set by NIGC in coordination with Turkish authorities.

Iralco IPOs Relaunched
Some 66 million shares of Iralco were to be offered on Wednesday.
Privatization Organization will relaunch initial public offerings (IPOs) of the state-owned Iran Aluminum Company (Iralco), organization’s deputy head announced.
“Some 40 percent of Iralco stocks (66 millions) will be offered on the bourse in a single block on Wednesday due to stiff competition among buyers,“ Mehdi Aqdaei told Fars news agency on Tuesday.
The shares were offered at the bourse after buyers showed no interest in its stocks on November 26 due to liquidity shortages.
“Shares of the aluminum company will be reoffered at the bourse on Wednesday with a five-rial increase per share (so its price would be 14,365 rials),“ the official added.
It is said that two major buyers were in stiff competition for purchasing the shares.
Shares are floated in the stock exchange in line with Article 44 of the Constitution which seeks large-scale privatization in key economic areas and downsizing the government.

Turkey Power Deal Likely
Iran may export 2,000 megawatts of electricity to Turkey, announced managing director of Electricity Network Management Company.
Masoud Hojjat told MNA that related agreements have been inked, hoping that in addition to power export from Khoy Power plant, Iran can sell electricity to Turkey via Dogobayazid.
“Preliminary steps have been taken by Iran and we are waiting for Turkish officials to receive the necessary permits,“ he noted.
He said that the price of electricity export from Khoy is secret, noting that 150 megawatts of electricity are expected to be sold to Turkey in the initial stage. “The figure will be increased to 1,000 megawatts,“ he said.
Hojjat further stated that 40 megawatts of electricity will be exported from Dogobayazid in the initial phase, adding the figure can be raised to 250 or 300 megawatts later.
“Once we manage to transfer 1,000 megawatts of electricity, it will be possible to link up to Europe’s power network via Turkey,“ he noted.
The official added that negotiations are underway between Iranian contractors and Turkish officials on power plant construction in the two countries.
He said that Turkey is due to build two power plants in Iran, adding Iran will also construct 2,000 megawatt power plant in Turkey. The decision was made during a recent visit by Turkey’s energy minister.

IKIA Phase 1 Shy of Rls3 Trillion
About 3,000 billion rials have been sought for completing Phase 1 of Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), in the next Iranian year to March 2009, announced managing director of the State Airports Company, Asghar Ketabchi.
According to a fax sent to Iran Daily by the company’s Information Dissemination Department, if the sum is made available and the same amount is earmarked for the year to March 2010, the first phase of the airport would go into operation in the year to March 2009.
He said that constructing the second runway, completing Customs Administrations’ and a number of other buildings are among the projects for Phase 1 of IKIA.
Presently the airport has the capacity to handle 6.5 million passengers per annum, he said and noted that 3 million people will use the airport by March 19.
Given the eight percent growth in flights, it is estimated that IKIA will have moved five million passengers by March 2009.
The newly-built Imam Khomeini International Airport, the largest in Iran, sprawls over an area of 13,500 hectares.
About 3.2 trillion rials will be needed to promote the airport to a world-class level.

Urban Rehabs on Agenda
Renovation of old texture of 355 cities has been placed on the agenda of Housing and Urban Development Ministry, announced managing director of Urban Development and Revitalization Organization Abolfazl Mousavi.
Reconstruction of the old textures in 191 cities has been approved by the cabinet so far, he told MNA on Saturday.
About 44,000 hectares of rundown areas have been pinpointed in 335 cities and the figure is expected to reach 52,000 hectares.
The government, he said, has allocated 6,000 billion rials for the revival of dilapidated textures which will be acquired from the sales of participation bonds.
Mousavi said that the bonds will be sold at Bank-e Maskan in the provinces.
The government is obliged by law to complete renovation of old urban textures in two five-year economic plans using funds from the sales of participation bonds.
The official noted that direct public contribution can help the government complete the project on schedule.
Last year, Housing Ministry issued five trillion rials worth of participation bonds at fixed profit rate of 17.3 percent.
Studies show that 10 percent of the urban areas are dilapidated.