South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction Co (SKEC) signed a heads of agreement on Saturday for a 1.6 billion euro upgrade of the Tabriz refinery in northwest Iran, the Shana news agency said.
South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, who is in Tehran to attend President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in, oversaw the signing between SKEC, Tabriz Oil Refining Company and National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC).
“The purpose of the signing of the agreement, which is about to be signed into a contract in the near future, is to convert the furnace oil produced at the Tabriz refinery to products of higher value according to Euro 5 standard,” the report said.
Export-Import Bank of Korea will finance the project which includes upgrades to desulfurization equipment as well as gasoline, diesel and other facilities, it added.
The project will be carried out over a period of 48 months, bringing down the furnace oil capacity at the refinery to 2.0% from 20% now. Furnace oil is also known as fuel oil.
The Tabriz oil processing plant, built in 1976, is among the Iranian refineries in dire need of upgrade and modernization. In February, the country signed a $3 billion contract with China to upgrade the Abadan refinery in southwest Iran.
Tabriz operates with a capacity of 110,000 barrels per day, turning crude oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline and diesel fuel.
According to Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company Abbas Kazemi, Iran needs $14 billion of investment in total to fix and upgrade Tehran, Bandar Abbas, Isfahan, Tabriz and Abadan refineries.
Iranian refineries, he said in February, were operating at a capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, which would rise to 600,000 bpd in the current Persian year.
Iran expected to sign oil refining contracts worth $8.6 billion with a number of Japanese, Chinese and Korean companies, Kazemi said then, adding the biggest deal was reserved for Japan’s Marubeni, Chiyoda and Mitsui companies to upgrade Isfahan refinery at $3.6 billion.
A separate $2 billion contract is about to be signed with South Korea’s Daelim company to boost oil processing capacity at Isfahan refinery, said Kazemi, who is also Iran’s deputy petroleum minister.
South Korea‘s intake of Iranian crude oil soared to a record high in March and its first-quarter crude imports from Iran nearly doubled on year, reflecting Tehran’s efforts to raise output after the lifting of sanctions early last year.
The increase in volumes since international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in January 2016 has made Iran the second-largest oil supplier to South Korea after Saudi Arabia, in the first quarter of 2017, reported Reuters quoting preliminary customs data on Saturday.
Iran was fifth-largest in the first quarter of 2016, behind Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, according to data from Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC).
The official KNOC data ranked Iran as second-largest for the first two months of the year. KNOC figures for March and the quarter are due out in one week.
In March, the customs data showed South Korea imported 2.26 million tons of Iranian crude, or 534,368 barrels per day (bpd), up 118.8 percent from 1.03 million tons a year ago, reaching a record. That was up 38.3 percent from 1.63 million tons in February.
The world’s fifth-largest crude importer and one of Tehran’s biggest customers shipped in 5.68 million tons of Iranian crude in the first three months of 2017, or 463,234 bpd, up 92.4 percent from the 2.96 million tons imported during the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, oil shipments from Saudi Arabia to South Kore, rose 10.9 percent to 3.52 million tons, or 831,413 bpd, in March on year. That was down 2.6 percent from 3.61 million tons a month ago as the world’s top oil exporter complies with the OPEC deal to cut supplies.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC members reached an agreement to curb output last year by almost 1.8 mbd in the first half of 2017. Iran was exempted from the deal.
South Korea’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia fell 10 percent to 10.44 million tons in the first quarter of this year, or 850,614 bpd, from 11.61 million tons in the previous quarter, but that was 5.7 percent higher on year.
Overall, Asia’s fourth-largest economy brought in 12.68 million tons of crude oil in March this year, or nearly 3 mbd — up 10.1 percent from 11.52 million tons a year ago — according to the data.
For the first quarter of 2017, South Korea imported 36.94 million tons of crude, or 3.01 mbd, up 4.6 percent from 35.32 million tons a year earlier.
Final data for the country’s March crude oil imports will be released by state-run KNOC later this month.
Iran’s Oil Ministry said early this month that the country’s total exports of crude oil and condensates had exceeded three million barrels per day — a level not seen for at least the past six years.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, “The pace of growth in Iran’s crude oil production and exports has amazed international observers who did not think Iran could raise its production by one million barrels per day within three to four months after the removal of sanctions.”
According to the ministry, almost a third of Iran’s oil exports, or over 700,000 bpd, is currently destined for Europe. The country exported around 600,000 bpd of oil to Europe during pre-sanctions years.
A top oil official said last December that Iran had started exports of condensate to Europe by sending a maiden cargo of one million barrels to certain EU clients.
The first South Korean ship will be delivered to Iran in March 2018 based on a deal to buy 10 Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV) from the Asian state, announced the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
Mohammad Saeedi added it is a 14,500 TEU container ship built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. (HHI), Tasnim News Agency reported.
He said after receiving the first ship, the remaining ships will be handed over to the IRISL at monthly intervals.
The IRISL signed the deal with the HHI to buy 10 ships from the world’s largest shipbuilding company in December. Financed by South Korean banks, the contract was inked between representatives of the IRISL and the HHI on December 9, 2016.
Under the contract, valued at $650 million, Hyundai will build 14,500 TEU container ships and 50,000 DWT product tankers.
The contracts were parts of the IRISL’s plans to renovate its fleet at a total investment of $2.5 billion.
The company operates about 115 oceangoing vessels, but many of the ships are old and have been deemed unsafe to travel and cannot be insured.
The agreement marks Iran’s first deal with a foreign shipbuilder since the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions.
The sanctions were lifted after Tehran and the P5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France, and Germany) finalized a lasting nuclear deal on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
South Korea’s imports of oil from Iran more than doubled in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier following the removal of international sanctions on the country in January, industry data showed on Sunday.
According to the data, imports of Iranian crude oil and condensates reached 78 million barrels during January-September compared with 33.63 million barrels in the same period a year earlier, Yonhap reported.
Iranian oil accounted for 9.7 percent of the country’s total oil imports during the cited period, the data showed.
Iran export $526m oil to South Korea on September
In September alone, the country imported 12.15 million barrels, worth $526 million, up 106 percent and 72.3 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.
Iran had been a major exporter of crude to South Korea, but international sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program had sharply reduced bilateral trade.
Iran, with a population of over 80 million, is a resource-rich nation, holding the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and the largest gas reserves.
Last year, South Korea imported $2.20 billion worth of crude oil from Iran, down 51 percent from the previous year and far lower than $9.36 billion in 2011. Volume-wise, imports of crude and condensates came to 42.4 million barrels last year — down from 44.92 million barrels in 2014, 56.14 million barrels in 2012.
So far, South Korea has been importing condensates from Qatar and the US, but after the lifting of sanctions on Iran, local oil refiners sharply jacked up imports of the gassy ultra-light fossil fuel from Iran.
Three foreign banks are opening up representative offices in Iran as the country seeks to boost investment after reaching an international sanctions deal last year, a senior official with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said.
Oman’s Bank Muscat SAOG, Woori Bank of South Korea and India’s UCO Bank Ltd. are all in the process of establishing a presence in Tehran, CBI Vice Governor Peyman Qorbani said Tuesday in an interview. He declined to give further details, Bloomberg wrote.
Major European banks have kept their distance from Iran, despite its nuclear deal with world powers, for fear of running foul of remaining US sanctions.
Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif said progress with foreign banks has been “slow,” IRNA reported in September.
Austrian and Iranian bankers met in Vienna in September to discuss the resumption of trade financing, people with knowledge of the plans said at the time.
Austria’s top three banks, Erste Group Bank AG, UniCredit Bank Austria AG and Raiffeisen Bank International AG would be among the participants, according to the people, who asked not to be identified.
Group A leader Iran got the better of South Korea 1-nil at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Tuesday evening as part of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers.
Carlos Queiroz’s boys entertained second-placed South Korea today in group A of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Final Round and pulled out a convincing 1-0 victory over East Asian rivals to solidify their hopes of securing a place at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
Iran’s single and decisive goal was scored by Sardar Azmun 25 minutes into the first half of the match in front of a crowd in excess of 70,000 at the Azadi Stadium to move on to 10 points from their opening four games.
Video: Iran vs South Korea, FIFA world cup qualifiers, 11 Oct. 2016- Tehran
The victory for Cheetahs marked their second consecutive 1-0 win in less than a week since they beat Uzbekistan with the same result last Thursday to secure the top position in Group A.
Now national football players of Iran are scheduled to take on Syria in their upcoming showdown to be held on the 15th October in the third-party venue of Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium located in Paroi, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia./ MNA
Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization and CEO of South Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) have agreed to establish Tehran and Seoul joint trade desk.
Mojtaba Khosrotaj and Kim Jaehong, president and CEO of KOTRA met in Seoul on Saturday to address possibilities of preparing a framework for joint cooperation of Iranian and South Korean firms, Mehr News Agency reported.
“A reciprocal mission for South Korean companies will also be promoting Iranian products in domestic markets and to incorporate Iranian industrial spare parts in production,” Khosrotaj said.
“Joint investment in molding industry in the production of household appliances has been an area well forgotten, and immediate policy decisions should address this gap.
“Policies for more sustainable economic relations are necessary; Korean companies with an interest in Iran should follow such policies,” he added. “A trade desk will be established to introduce the capacities to tradesmen of both sides and address their concerns and needs.”
Fresh indications show a main barrier for trade between Iran and South Korea will be removed soon.
South Korea announced on Thursday that it will start a euro-based settlement system for trade with Iran next week.
The move follows the removal of sanctions against Iran in January and is expected to help the two countries further expand economic relations.
“The euro-based settlement system for South Korea-Iran trade will start on August 29,” South Korea’s Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho told reporters after a policy meeting held in Seoul. “The opening of the system will help further promote bilateral trade and investment,” Yonhap News Agency quoted him as saying.
Iran and South Korea have been using a won-based settlement system since September 2010 to bypass trade sanctions and allow the two sides to conduct trade.
Under the current system, two local banks — Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea — have their own accounts at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), and trade payments are made through the accounts.
The South Korean government has made efforts to set up a new settlement system as an alternative method that can possible expand trade and investment with the oil-rich country, Yonhap added.
The finance minister said KEB Hana Bank, Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank will handle the euro-based payment system, which uses the euro as a medium of trade, which is widely preferred by Iranian companies.
Industry data showed that the trade volume between Korea and Iran stood at $6.1 billion in 2015, down sharply from $17.4 billion in 2011 in what appears to have been a result of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Deputy oil minister said Total S.A. Company has put forward a proposal to cooperate in development of Phase 11 of South Pars gas field.
Ali Kardor made the remarks underlining that two more foreign firms have also voiced readiness to launch partnership in the gas project.
Managing director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) emphasized that Iran’s new oil and gas projects will be put out to international tenders asserting “despite receiving proposals from Total of France and two other companies, no contract has become finalized or inked for developing Phase 11 of South Pars joint gas field.”
Apparently, Eni of Italy and South Korea’s Hyundai are the two firms who, in addition to total S.A., have expressed willingness to cooperate over the only South Pars phase which has remained undeveloped.
On the other hand, the Foreign Minister of France Laurent Fabius, in his earlier visit to Tehran, appreciated the activities of Total in Iran’s oil industry saying “the French company has been active in Iranian oil projects for the past 20 years while new windows are expected to be opened for Total’s presence in developmental projects of Iranian oil fields.” Iran’s Oil Minister had also made similar remarks on the sidelines of his meeting with the French FM.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) Ali Akbar Shabanpour had stated earlier that talks were underway to hand over the drilling project of Phase 11 to two Iranian companies; “Phase 11 is as large as two ordinary phases and the drilling sections will be undertaken by Iranian firms,” he had underlined.
The development project of Phase 11 aims to transfer the produced gas to Phases 6, 8 and 12 in order to exploit their vacant refining capacity as well as to enhance access to required materials in the phase./MNA
Celebrating Women’s History Month (March 1-31), IMDb published a video on Twitter to take a look back at “cinematic history in salute of the pioneering women directors and their groundbreaking work,” the online entertainment database tweeted along the video that featured scenes of Bani-Etemad’s 2014 drama, Tales (Ghesseh-ha).
Born in Tehran in 1954, Bani-Etemad – who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies from the Dramatic Arts University in Tehran – is widely considered as the most important female director in Iran, titled ‘First Lady of Iranian Cinema’.
Her movies and documentaries picture social and cultural issues and complications in modern-day Iran.
The Tales – which adopts an episodic narrative – portrays the fates of seven characters of Bani-Etemad’s previous flicks.
The film won the award for Best Screenplay (written by Bani-Etemad and Farid Mostafavi) at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
It also brought Bani-Etemad the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award – dedicated to best film – at Kolkata International Film Festival in 2014, as well as the Special Jury Prize at Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Australia) in the same year.
Also featured in IMDb’s short video were the likes of Sofia Coppola, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Chinese-American film director Lulu Wang, Sarah Polley, and Barbra Streisand.
Banietemad, born in 1954 Tehran, began to make documentaries for the
Iranian National Television in 1979, right after graduating from the
University of Dramatic Arts, Tehran. From 1979 to 1987 she focused on
making only documentaries. In 1987, she directed her first feature film Off the Limits. In 1991, she became the first woman recipient of the Best Director award for Nargess at Fajr International Film Festival in Iran. In 1995, she won the Bronze Leopard for The Blue Veiled at the Locarno Film Festival. Under the Skin of the City, her next film, was the highest grossing film in Iran in 2000. This film along with Gilaneh(2005) and Mainline(2006), garnered major awards in more than 50 film festivals.
While Banietemad’s feature films have
been acclaimed and honored worldwide, her documentaries have also been
successful and popular internationally. Our Times …,
was the first documentary ever to be released in the movie theatres in
Iran in 2002. It was also screened in highly prestigious and prominent
festivals and TV channels such as IDFA, Sundance Film Festival and ARTE.
Banietemad started her work by making
documentaries and has never ended the strong connection she has always
had with her works. Making documentaries have been her main way of
connecting with the society and social issues. Her approach and in
depicting social issues has been so strong and effective that her works
have always resulted in causing change in the lives of her
In 2008, she received an honorary
doctorate from University of London, in 2010, she was awarded the Prix
Henri Langlois from Vincennes International Film Festival. Her latest
feature film, Tales, was awarded the Best Screenplay prize in the main competition section of 2014 Venice International Film Festival.
More recently, she has joined the Academy Oscar, Writers branch in 2017.
Honorary Doctorate, University of London (Iran), 2008
Master Class, School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS (England), 2008
Master Class, Geneva University of Art & Design (ESBA), 2008
Jury Member, Cinema Verite Int’l FF (Iran), 2007
Jury Member, Women’s Film Festival (Iran), 2006
Jury Member, Asian Cinema, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 2006
Jury Member, Art University Student Festival (Iran), 2005
Director, Sony Young Directors Film Festival (Iran), 2003
Jury Member, Asia Pacific Film Festival (Iran), 2003
Jury Member, Sony Young Directors Film Festival (Iran), 2002
Jury Member, Moscow Int’l FF (Russia), 2002
Jury Member, Cairo Int’l FF (Egypt), 2002
Jury Member, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 2001
Jury Member, Montreal Int’l FF (Canada), 2001
Jury Member, Youth Film Festival (Iran), 2001
Jury Member, Student Film Festival (Iran), 1999
Jury Member, Leipzig Int’l FF (Germany), 1999
Jury Member, Tokyo Environmental Int’l FF, (Japan), 1998
Jury Member, New Delhi Int’l FF (India), 1998
Jury Member, Student Film Festival (Iran), 1997
Jury Member, Locarno Int’l FF (Swiss), 1996
Jury Member, Turin Int’l FF (Italy), 1995
Jury Member, Center for Iranian Film Directors (Iran), 1993
Jury Member, Roshd Film Festival (Iran), 1992
Jury Member, Fajr Int’l FF (Iran), 1990
KÂRÂ FILM STUDIO
KARA Film Studio is a name under which a group of professional Iranian filmmakers express their common concerns regarding humanistic, social and cultural issues through documentary films, while maintaining their own diverse and distinct vision. In KARA Film Studio, filmmakers in small or large numbers, gather together and, starting with an outline of a documentary project, complete the work in a professional manner.
KARA Film Studio operates under a number of principles: personal financing or financing through private sector; working as teams and in a workshop from development of an idea through to its completion and distribution; giving young and talented documentary filmmakers an opportunity to work with professionals and assistance with their development, due respect for the audience by maintaining high standards in the production phase, endeavor to provide improved and increased means of screening films inside and outside Iran; … Rakhshan Banietemad and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb are the constant participants in this group.