TEHRAN: Iran’s Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi heads to China on Wednesday seeking new investments in the country’s energy sector, including funding for new refineries, a report said on Tuesday.
The oil ministry’s news agency Shana reported that Beijing has expressed its desire to invest in the refining sector, an area where Iran is still not self-reliant.
In its drive to tighten sanctions against Iran, the United States has targeted its energy and downstream oil sector in particular, given that Tehran is Opec’s second largest crude exporter but still imports around 40 per cent of its refined oil requirements.
In recent years Beijing has emerged as Iran’s main economic partner, filling the gaps in the country’s energy sector left by Western firms forced out by sanctions.
China is already investing $40 billion in Iran’s oil and gas industry.
China backed the fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambition, but Beijing has consistently urged the world powers to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2010.
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