Iranian businesses and officials are readying their reemergence in the global financial market, in anticipation of the lifting of sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy for the past several years. Iran could mark its return with some $185 billion worth of new projects by the end of the year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in a monthly newsletter, UPI reported Tuesday.
Iran, an OPEC member, has been eagerly awaiting the day sanctions are eased and international oil companies can again begin reinvesting in the oil-rich Middle Eastern country. Already foreign businesses have held discussions with Iranian businessmen and officials about tapping into the country’s markets, including Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, the giant Italian oil and gas company that announced Sunday the discovery of a massive gas field in the Mediterranean.
"Iran has drawn up a list of some 50 oil and gas projects worth $185 billion which it intends to start developing once longstanding economic sanctions against the country are lifted, most likely later this year or early in 2016," OPEC, made up of 12 member states, said, according to UPI.
— CSIS (@CSIS) September 1, 2015
Iran is likely to rely on renewed foreign investment if sanctions are lifted, as most of the major companies that once invested in the country pulled out in recent years. Sanctions were initially placed on the country in 2006 under a United Nations Security Council resolution passed when Iranian leaders refused to suspend Iran's uranium enrichment program.
An agreement reached in July after two years of negotiations between Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers would see sanctions gradually lifted in exchange for a commitment from Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. The deal has come under heavy scrutiny by Republicans in Congress, who do not believe Iran can be trusted to keep to the terms of an agreement. Congress will be voting on the accord later this month.
Iran is the world's fifth largest oil producer.
Crude oil production was around 3.1 million barrels per day in July 2015, Albawaba, a Jordan-based news site, reported. Exports are limited to just around 1 million barrels per day and to six nations under the terms of the sanctions.
Iranian officials will attend a major investment conference December in London.