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The Biggest Obstacle to Iran's Energy Makeover Is Itself

May 27, 2016 | 09:16 GMT
Iran's energy sector may undergo a dramatic change if it can move beyond the country's difficult political and business environment.
Iran's energy sector may undergo a dramatic change if it can move beyond the country's difficult political and business environment.
(ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Throughout the first half of the year, Iran's national oil company has been busily signing partnership deals with its international peers to secure its place in future Iranian energy projects. The agreements, the most recent of which was sealed on May 4 with Austria's OMV Group, come at a critical time for Iran's hydrocarbons sector. Over the past decade, the Iranian oil industry languished as Tehran largely shunned outside assistance. But now, in an effort to capitalize on the country's recent nuclear deal with the West and the lifting of sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani is trying to reinvigorate the sector by pumping in foreign cash and expertise. The president's envisioned reforms will fundamentally change the structure of the Iranian energy industry. But they could also redefine the role and scope of the National Iranian Oil Co.'s activities -- an outcome certain stakeholders in the company and the oil sector more broadly...

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