Iran applies for observer status in Energy Charter

Nov 27, 2002 01:00 AM

The Islamic Republic of Iran has applied for observer status in the Energy Charter, a Brussels-based inter-governmental organization promoting energy cooperation in which fifty-one European and Asian states participate. "I came back deeply impressed from my discussions with the Iranian government and soon there shall be closer relationship between Iran and the Energy Charter," said Dr Ria Kemper, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat.
Dr Kemper said she visited Tehran in the first week of November at the invitation of Iran's petroleum minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh. "I am most pleasantly surprised that a week after my visit I got a formal application from the Iranian government for observership," she said.

Dr Kemper said the formal decision of Iran's application will be taken during the Energy Charter conference, the highest body of the Charter. Iran's application has already been put on the agenda of the conference to take place on December 17-18 in Brussels.
"I expect that this application will be greeted with great interest, appreciation support and acceptance," said Dr Kemper. She said she hoped that an official from Iran would be able to attend the conference.

Dr Kemper noted the cooperation in the energy sector between Iran and the EU was progressing. She pointed out that just before her visit to Iran, the European Commission opened an Energy Technology Centre in Tehran which forms part of the cooperation foreseen in the cooperation and trade agreement, a process which is currently under negotiation.
"My visit was very interesting. I was deeply impressed also by the already existing knowledge of my Iranian counterparts on the Energy Charter process. So it was a very professional discussion and certainly I enjoyed tremendously."

During her visit, Dr Kemper held meetings with among others Mr Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, Minister of Petroleum of Iran, Mr Hossein Adeli, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr Reza Amrollahi, Senior Deputy Minister of Energy of Iran, and MrMir Moezi, President of the National Iranian Oil Company.
Discussions focused on the Energy Charter's current activities aimed at strengthening international cooperation with regard to energy trade, transit, investments and energy efficiency. The Charter's legal foundation, the 1994 Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), provides a multilateral framework for energy relations based on a common commitment to establish an open, competitive energy market among its member-states.

At present, Iran is the only littoral state of the Caspian Sea that is not a member of the Energy Charter process. In Dr Kemper's view, this is one reason why Iran's participation would be a welcome development.
"The Energy Charter offers its member-governments a forum for discussions on energy policy matters, in particular with regard to the security of oil and gas exports from emerging production areas in the Caspian basin and Central Asia," noted Dr Kemper.

Should Iran's application be accepted, the Islamic Republic would become the seventh OPEC member-country to be granted observership at the Energy Charter (the others being Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela).

Source: Asia Pulse
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