By Benoit Faucon
VIENNA--Iran's oil minister met BP PLC (>> BP plc) and Total SA (>> Total SA) on Wednesday, in a sign of renewed interest for the country's oil sector.
International sanctions ban Western oil companies from entering Iran's oil fields. Earlier this week, Tehran failed to reach a final nuclear agreement with world powers, which could have eased such restrictions.
Speaking to reporters, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said he met representatives of BP PLC--the first such reported meeting with the British oil giant--and France's Total SA to discuss a possible entry in the country. Total, which was represented by new Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne, and BP have both previously said they won't work in Iran unless sanctions are lifted.
Separately, Mr Zanganeh also met Vagit Alekperov, president of Russian oil giant Lukoil (>> LUKOIL (ADR)). Speaking to reporters, Mr. Alekperov said that "as soon as sanctions [are] lifted, we are hoping [to] enter" the country. He also said Lukoil would like to participate in bidding round for new oil contracts which is due early next year, but which has been postponed several times.
Lukoil currently hasn't any business with Iran and is present in Western countries which have imposed sanctions.
Mr. Zanganeh was in Vienna for a gathering of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries set for Thursday.
-Write to Benoit Faucon [email protected]