Iran wants China to replace Japan as its biggest importer of oil and gas, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was reported as saying.
"Japan is our number one energy importer for historical reasons . . . but we would like to give preference to exports to China," Zanganeh was quoted as saying in China Business Weekly magazine.
Iran and China last week signed a preliminary accord under which China will buy an annual 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 25 years in a deal worth US$100 billion.
The memorandum of understanding also grants to Chinese oil giant Sinopec the right to exploit the Yadavaran oil field on a buy-back basis in cooperation with a major international oil company.
The Yadavaran oil field, with more than 3 billion barrels of exploitable reserves, is located near the Iraq border. It comprises the Koushk and Hosseinieh oil fields, which were recently found to be connected at various layers, forming an oil field with a cumulative in-place reserve of 17 billion barrels.
Such leading international oil firms as Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Statoil submitted bids to develop the field.
(China.org.cn, China Daily November 8, 2004)