‘Oil rush’ still in slow lane

10 November 2015, News Wires –  The media in Tehran have been so feverish in recent days with speculation over reported oil and gas deals that an innocent visitor might conclude Iran is in the midst of an unprecedented oil rush.

*Oil prices drop.

*Oil prices drop.

Forget the collapse in global oil prices — this is Iran on the verge of breaking the energy sanctions stranglehold, and decades of international isolation.

Oil officials in Tehran have recently been gearing up for a series of international conferences leading up to the Iran Oil Summit in Tehran later this month, and a roadshow in London in late February.

The conferences come amid what seems a constant flow of European officials and company representatives in recent weeks, giving the impression that the whole world is courting Iran.

However, expectations in Tehran may be getting too high.

There is, admittedly, a great deal of activity by various companies, but almost all of it is preliminary and will take some time to translate into reality.

Senior officials from BP, Total and other majors have visited Tehran, but they are almost all having to be extremely careful not to be seen to be in violation of US-led sanctions.

Indeed, the pace at which everything is moving is so slow that it will be at least early 2016 before any concrete talks can start.

And even then, any project negotiations are likely to last at least another year.

The Iranians will no doubt try to have a few early showpiece contracts, but the oil rush of this year could take much longer than it may seem to some in Tehran to become anything resembling a gold rush.

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