By Sara Rajabova
Energy giants that were forced to cancel business dealings with Iran following a series of international sanctions against Tehran are now waiting for the lifting of all restrictions to resume their activities in the country.
Italy’s Eni oil company said on April 19 that it is interested in returning to Iran if sanctions against the country are lifted.
Eni, which is seen as one of the largest energy groups of Europe, said an expected change in Iranian oil contracts that would guarantee a share of production from projects could expedite its return to the country.
“That should be the fastest way to restarting in Iran,” Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s chief executive told the Financial Times.
Before leaving Iran due to the sanctions, Eni was involved in a series of oil sector projects including the development of South Pars Phases 4&5 as well as Doroud and Balal oil fields.
Descalzi had reportedly voiced his company’s interest in returning to Iran in a personal meeting with the country’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh at an OPEC summit in Vienna in 2014.
Several other top global energy giants including Total, Lukoil, Shell as well as leading Chinese oil companies have also made similar positions so far.
Along with several European countries, Italy also said it is waiting for the removal of sanctions to return to the country’s lucrative market.
Paolo Pistelli, the Italian deputy foreign minister, told a conference in Rome on April 18 that a final comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran will turn the country into “a market everyone is waiting for”.
He said Italy will have numerous economic opportunities in Iran in all categories of products.
Pistelli emphasized that there is already a huge consumer market in Iran, adding that Rome is “very interested” in realizing when and how the new opportunities for businesses are created in the country.
Rome was for decades one of Tehran's biggest commercial partner with a trade volume exchange of over 7 billion euros in 2006. However, with Italy supporting the UN Security Council's economic sanctions against Iran, that amount slumped to 1.2 billion euros by 2013.