TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran is determined to develop its oil industry in spite of U.S. sanctions imposed on the country, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said here Saturday.
"We will not surrender under any circumstances ... We have to increase our capacity so that when necessary with full strength we can enter the market and revive our market share,” he said.
The minister was speaking before the signing of a $294-million contract between the National Iranian Oil Company and Persia Oil & Gas, an Iranian firm, to develop the Yaran oilfield that is shared with neighboring Iraq’s Majnoon field.
The agreement aims to produce 39.5 million barrels of oil from the Yaran oilfield in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, the Ministry of Petroleum’s Shana news agency said.
Iran’s oil industry is at the forefront of an economic war which the U.S. is waging to dry up the Islamic Republic’s resources.
Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. has unleashed its most restrictive sanctions ever with a pledge to bring Iran’s vital oil exports down to zero.
Zangeneh said Iran is expanding its oil-production capacity in anticipation that an eventual end of sanctions would allow it to wrest back its share of the global crude market.
"It’s true that our output is low because of cruel and illegal sanctions, but things won’t stay the same,” he said. "We need to increase our production capacity to be able to return to the market in full force and restore our share whenever necessary.”
Touching on the U.S. "maximum pressure” on Iran, Zangeneh said, "We will not surrender under any circumstances. Creating capacities is a strategic work in the oil industry.”
The sanctions have buoyed domestic entities which before the sanctions were a dark horse for lucrative contracts as major international companies always won them.
In February, Iran unveiled its first oil rig manufactured by domestic companies, fulfilling a dream which the country’s petroleum industry cherished for long.
Iran’s oil industry has been looking inward since the sanctions came into effect in November 2018, going out of its way to put unprecedented trust in local companies for implementation of some major projects.
As an example, a multibillion-dollar deal to develop phase 11 of supergiant South Pars gas field has been awarded to Iran’s Petropars after French oil major Total and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) withdrew from the project.
"It is our duty to create work for domestic factories,” Zangeneh said in February, sounding out the government’s support for knowledge-based entities and start-ups.