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Iran looking for foreign partners for LNG projects

DOHA, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Iran is looking for foreign partners to set up two major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects by 2005, a senior Iranian official said on Monday.

"We are looking for two major international groups which can provide modern technology and take charge of marketing and shipping," said Ahmed Rahgozar, deputy managing director of international affairs at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Briefing international oil and gas executives at a gas seminar in the Qatari capital, Rahgozar said the two projects are aimed at tapping Iran's mammoth gas reserves to produce 15 millions tonnes a year of LNG in the country's third five-year plan which began this year.

"We are seeking foreign investment in both upstream and downstream sectors to develop our gas resources. But our main focus is on partners who have the market and know how to penetrate the market," he said.

Rahgozar said Iran would offer minority stakes to foreign partners in both LNG projects, which would be partly financed with international loans.

He said his country was also discussing a pipeline project to export Iranian gas to Pakistan and India.

"There has been a breakthrough for the project with a recent assurance by Pakistan to allow a pipeline to carry Iranian gas to India," he said. "This is the most cost-effective route to supply gas to India."

Rahgozar said the project has attracted considerable interest from financial circles and Pakistan would stand to gain $600 million in transit fee.


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