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Under harshest of bans, Iran rolls out $5.6bn worth of energy projects

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani uses a video conference call to launch five massive energy projects in south and western Iran on August 24, 2020.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has opened several major energy projects in the country, a fresh sign that American sanctions have failed to cause a minimum halt to the expansion of the Iranian oil and gas sector.

The five projects unveiled by Rouhani on Monday were worth 4.7 billion euros ($5.6 billion) according to a report by the official IRNA news agency, which said that private investors had contributed to a part of finances needed to finish the development schemes.

The projects included two gas transfer pipelines that would carry natural gas from production facilities on the Persian Gulf to western and northwestern regions of Iran for the purpose of domestic consumption and export.  

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the pipelines and a dispatching station also unveiled on Monday had cost $3.66 billion, including $1.5 billion in finances provided by private investors.

A $1.57-billion petrochemical plant in the city of Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, and a $377-million power plant meat to supply electricity to expanding oil production facilities near the Iraqi border in Khuzestan province, also came on line on Monday.

Opening such massive projects in Iran comes despite a series of harsh sanctions imposed by the US on the country’s energy sector.

Washington has banned governments and entities around the world from engaging in any trade of crude with Iran while threatening those seeking to build out the country’s oil and gas sector with tough sanctions.

However, Iran has relied on domestic investment and expertise to develop its massive hydrocarbon resources. The production of natural gas in the country has reached over one billion cubic meters per day of which around 80 million cubic meters are exported to neighbors like Turkey and Iraq.

Output for petrochemicals is reaching 100 million metric tons a year, a whopping figure which Rouhani said would be equal to a stable annual income of $25 billion for future administrative governments in Iran.

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