|Oil minister is ‘second foreign minister’: oil minister nominee||
TEHRAN – Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the nominee for the post of oil minister, says now that Iran’s oil industry has been sanctioned by the West the oil minister plays the role of “the second foreign minister”.
“In the current situation, after the foreign minister, the oil minister, through active energy diplomacy, plays the role of the second foreign minister,” Zanganeh told a meeting of private sector activists at the Tehran Chamber of Commerce.
Zanganeh served as oil minister for eight years during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami. He was also energy minister in the Rafsanjani administration.
“After the passage of eight years I found a good opportunity for study and thinking and today I believe nothing can be done in the oil industry without the involvement of the private sector,” he added.
The nominee for oil minister also said to achieve an all-out economic development there is a need for “real private sector” in which appointments and dismissals of mangers will not be based on “political” motivations.
Private sector can seriously enter the trade of oil, oil derivatives and petrochemicals, he explained. “However, I personally believe that private sector should be given no favoritism or concessions for involvement in the oil trade.”
He also said domestic manufacturers should be given the opportunity for designing and producing equipment needed in oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
However, he said quality is considered the most important issue in domestic manufacturing.
Currently, Russia produces all goods needed for its oil and gas industry “but no Russian-made goods are exported to developed countries due to their low quality.”
“Based on this we will welcome local manufacturing with the purpose of exporting goods and equipment.”
“Through reviving energy diplomacy we should lessen the effects of sanctions and provide the condition for increase of oil export,” he noted.
Sanctions has created problems for Iran’s oil export in the international markets “but these sanctions will not be ever-lasting and through an active energy diplomacy” many of these limitations can be removed, the oil minister nominee opined.
He went on to say that all problems in the oil industry are not rooted in sanctions and many of the problems can be resolved “even under harsher sanctions”.
“We have top managers in marketing oil” who have been dismissed from their jobs, the former minister lamented.
“We should neutralize oil sanctions with the cooperation of experienced managers in oil industry, private sector, and national unity.”
He also said the most important tool in raising the status of Iran within OPEC is to increase oil production.
“Based on this view, in a short-term plan, I will put increasing crude oil production to more than 4 million barrels per day on the agenda.”
Asked whether he has any plans to bring the importation of the Chinese-made goods for the oil industry under control, he said, “Under sanctions some events may happen but if we wish the manufacture of many of these equipment is possible within Iran.”
Domestic industrialists have the expertise to produce equipment with higher quality than the Chinese ones needed in the oil industry. “Therefore the importation of equipment from China will be resolved by levying tariffs.”
He said he will seek to create stability in the oil management sector, adding the development of joint oil and gas fields are his first priority.
“Most of the investments made in the gas industry have not produced results.”
On gasoline rationing, he said this issue falls within the ambit of the center tasked with implementing the subsidy reform plan and the Oil Ministry only implements the laws in this regard.
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