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Progress is slow but countries consider a return to Iran

Iran is complying with the interim nuclear deal struck in Geneva in November, some light sanctions relief is under way and oil companies are already getting hot under the collar as they plot a return to the country’s upstream

Christophe de Margerie, Total’s chief executive, told Bloomberg last week that Iran’s energy ministry would make new contracts “more sexy than before” as it tries to lure in the majors. The ever-quotable de Margerie had just emerged from a meeting with Hassan Rouhani in Davos. The Iranian president, de Margerie said, had told him: “We have plenty of oil and plenty of gas. We need your management skills, we need your technology. We don’t really need your money.” Executives from Eni, BP, GazpromNeft, Lukoil and other firms also attended the meeting. You can only imagine the group’s mood as the men dreamed of new access to Iran’s 157 billion barrels of oil and 33.7 trillion cubic metres of gas.

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