Iran looking for partners for Caspian pipeline
Iranian project management company MAPNA said that it has won a $ 347 mm deal to build a Caspian Sea oil pipeline to
the country's northern refineries and is considering consortium partners.
MAPNA regional manager Reza Ebadzadeh told that his firm had been informed by National Iranian Oil (NIOC) that it won the contract, beating Italian, British, German, Russian, South Korean and Saudi competitors.
He said that NIOC had urged MAPNA -- the Iran Power Plant Projects Management Company -- to take on consortium
partners to construct the pipeline, part of Iran's ambitions to become a major export route for Caspian oil and
Ebadzadeh said MAPNA, the lowest bidder in the pipeline competition, was currently looking at China National Petroleum and China Petrochemical (Sinopec) as consortium candidates.
The Chinese concerns had been tipped by industry sources to win the deal in partnership with MAPNA.
But an Iranian oil industry official told that the Chinese companies had been given adeadline to submit a new bid and would probably not meet it and lose out on the deal.
Ebadzadeh said the Chinese companies were low bidders and were under consideration but that "the door is still open" to other companies that had approached MAPNA, including firms from Europe, Russia and the Gulf.
"What we are looking for is partners that would be able to provide the financing of supplies for the pipeline and would be able to give us the most oil," he said.
Ebadzadeh declined to disclose the names of the companies that had submitted MAPNA with consortium proposals for the deal he valued at $ 347 mm.
He said his company would make a decision within two weeks. Iran launched a tender earlier this year for the 390 km,
370,000 bpd route from the Caspian port of Neka on a build-operate-transfer basis.
The pipeline will help Iran expand its "oil swaps" system in which it takes Caspian crude into its northern refineries, delivering an equivalent amount of Iranian crude in the Gulf.
It is aimed at delivering crude from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan for use at Tehran and Tabriz refineries. This would be in exchange for Iranian crude from the southern fields being delivered to Turkmen and Kazakh customers calling at Gulf terminals.
The new oil line -- the first in a swathe of new Iranian energy openings -- is the first part of Tehran's three-stage vision to ultimately see it transport some 1.6 mm bpd of landlocked Caspian crude to world markets early next century.
MAPNA, formed in 1993 to manage and help raise finances for projects in Iran, has its headquarters in Tehran, with offices in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and China. Its shareholders are mostly Iranian state institutions.