Iranian Oil Minister Zanganeh to Retire at End of Rohani’s Term | Business and economic news
The oldest OPEC oil minister, Iran Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, will retire at the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s term this year.
Iranian veteran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will retire at the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s term this year, ending a career that began with the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and has often been defined by relationships. turmoil of his country with the United States.
The oldest OPEC oil minister has said he will not accept any proposal from Rouhani’s successor – who will be chosen in next month’s election – to continue in his post.
“If they offer me the presidency, I will not accept it, let alone the ministry,” the 68-year-old engineer told reporters in Tehran, according to the official Shana news agency. “I will not take another official message.”
Rohani will resign about two months after the presidential election on June 18, after serving two terms. The polls come as the Islamic Republic and world powers hold talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and ease US sanctions, which have hit the economy. The state-controlled National Iranian Oil Co. has primed crude fields and customer relationships so it can increase exports if a deal is struck.
End of an era
“It’s the end of an era,” said Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets, referring to Zanganeh’s dismissal and the death last year of the Iranian envoy to the ‘OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili.
Zanganeh is a “highly skilled” diplomat and technocrat who is highly respected among her OPEC colleagues, she said.
His current tenure as Minister of Petroleum began in 2013 when Rouhani came to power. The administration has decided to re-engage with the West and end the international sanctions imposed under the presidency of the hard-line Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Under Rouhani, Zanganeh led an ambitious plan to attract foreign energy companies to the country, which BP Plc says has the fourth highest oil reserves in the world. Business delegates from across Europe and Asia traveled to Tehran for conferences organized by the ministry. At OPEC meetings in Vienna, executives like Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SE lined up to discuss potential deals with Zanganeh.
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States put an end to these efforts. Trump pulled America out of the landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and effectively banned all purchases of Iranian crude. Foreign companies have been forced to abandon their projects and the country’s oil production has halved, from nearly 4 million barrels a day.
Rather, Zanganeh attempted to develop Iran’s energy sector by handing over major contracts and projects to the private sector. On Monday, his ministry announced a $ 1.8 billion deal with local company Petropars Ltd. to develop a gas field in which an Indian consortium was previously supposed to invest.
He was at the center of some of the most dramatic moments in recent OPEC history. In mid-2018, he left a meeting when he felt offended by Khalid Al-Falih, the former oil minister of his rival Saudi Arabia.
Zanganeh also negotiated an exemption for Iran when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies – a grouping of 23 countries known as OPEC + – began cutting their supplies in 2016. The minister said argued that, because the country was under sanctions, it should not cap production. The exemption still exists, sparing Iran the new OPEC + quotas agreed to last year as the coronavirus pandemic rocked oil markets.
Originally from the predominantly Kurdish province of Kermanshah, Zanganeh was a close ally of former Iranian Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a reformist figure under house arrest in Iran for nearly a decade. Zanganeh often found himself the target of Iranian extremists, most of whom opposed the nuclear deal. They often tried to have him removed.
(Updates to fifth paragraph with quote from analyst.)