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Monday, October 17, 2016

Iran oil minister: hopes for OPEC deal in November

Mon Oct 17, 2016 | 4:32am EDT By Rania El Gamal | TEHRAN Iran will launch next month its first new style tender to develop oil and gas fields since the lifting of international sanctions, a leading oil official said on Monday, after months of internal discussions over the terms, intended to be more alluring to foreign companies. OPEC's third largest oil producer hopes to revive its energy sector following the lifting of the sanctions in January after years of under investment and to achieve production levels last seen in 2012. Other U.S. sanctions that remain in place, particularly on the banking sector, have dampened hopes for a rapid resumption of investment. Iran expects to tender new oil and gas contracts, knows as IPCs, in November, Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Tehran. Oil companies will be able to bid for a contract to develop the South Azadegan oil field as early as November 19, and NIOC will award the contract by early 2017, he said. After South Azadegan, NIOC will start tendering one field month by month, Kardor said. There are total 11 oil and gas fields‎ available for tendering, he said. The launch of the Iran's new oil and gas contracts was postponed several times as hard line rivals of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani resisted any deal that could end the so-called buy-back system, under which foreign firms were banned from owning stakes in Iranian companies. NIOC signed the first oil output contract under IPC earlier this month with a company identified by the United States as part of a conglomerate controlled by Iran's supreme leader. NIOC began taking applications on Monday for its upstream oil and gas projects as Iran hopes to sign exploration and production contracts early next year. The oil companies will upload on to NIOC's website the pre-qualification documents. NIOC will then evaluate the companies within two weeks and will select some for the first tender in November. Some analysts said Iran's IPCs do not seem to be attractive enough to raise billions of dollars in foreign direct investment at a time of low oil prices, especially when compared with neighboring Iraq's new oil contracts that enabled it to boost its output. ALSO IN COMMODITIES Another quarter of weak results looms for U.S. refiners OPEC secretary-general optimistic on reaching oil output deal in November However Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Monday that Iran's security and business climate is better than other neighboring countries. "Some countries are run by tribes, Iran is different than that," Jahangiri told the petroleum conference, addressing representatives of oil majors such as Total and BP. "Even if Iran's contracts are not as attractive as others signed in neighboring countries, Iran has its own advantages." (Reporting by Rania El Gamal, writing by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Ron Bousso; Editing by Andrew Heavens and William Hardy) Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to reporters during the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial (IEF15) in Algiers, Algeria September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to reporters during the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial (IEF15) in Algiers, Algeria September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday that he hoped OPEC would reach a deal to restrain oil production in November. Asked by reporters on the sidelines of an oil conference whether he was optimistic about a deal next month, Zanganeh replied: "I hope so." Asked if current Iranian oil output had risen high enough for Iran to join an OPEC deal, he said: "We should decide in November how much each country should produce." (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Writing by Andrew Torchia) ================== | Mon Oct 17, 2016 | 3:33pm EDT At least two dead in explosion at German BASF chemical plant Smoke rises from the factory of chemicals giant BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany where several people had been injured following an explosion, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach 1/13 At least two people died and six were severely injured on Monday in an explosion and fire at chemicals maker BASF's biggest production site in Germany, the company said. Two people are still missing, BASF said. The explosion occurred on a supply line connecting a harbor and a tank depot on the Ludwigshafen site at around 1120 local time (0920 GMT), according to BASF, the world's biggest chemicals company. A fire that broke out following the blast sent up plumes of smoke for hours, prompting BASF and the city of Ludwigshafen to urge residents in the surrounding area to avoid going outside and to keep their windows and doors shut. Measurements taken in the area so far have indicated no risk from toxic fumes, BASF said. "We deeply regret that employees died and several people were injured. Our sympathy is with the affected people and their families," the Ludwigshafen site's chief, Uwe Liebelt, said in a statement. The company said it was unclear so far what caused the explosion. BASF also said it could not say what financial impact the explosion might have. It shut down 14 facilities, including its two steam crackers, large units that make basic chemical components, for safety reasons and because the supply of raw materials was disrupted by the blast. The Ludwigshafen site, around 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Frankfurt, is the world's largest chemical complex, covering an area of 10 square kilometers (four square miles) and employing 39,000 workers, according to BASF. It is located on the Rhine river and receives many of its raw materials by ship. Also In World News Iraq launches Mosul offensive to drive out Islamic State Russia says to halt Aleppo strikes for eight hours on Thursday The harbor at which the explosion occurred is a terminal for combustible fluids such as naphtha and methanol that are important for BASF's supply of raw materials. News of the explosion came less than two hours after BASF said four people were injured in a gas explosion at its Lampertheim facility, a plant near Ludwigshafen that makes additives for plastics. (Reporting by Jans Hack and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Larry King and Jane Merriman)

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