Moscow: Russia`s energy minister said on Wednesday that United Nations sanctions will not stop its work with Iran in energy and power, despite others backing away from the Islamic Republic.
The Russian and Iranian energy ministries signed a "road map" outlining long-term energy cooperation and said they will aim to set up a joint bank to help fund bilateral projects and expand cooperation in natural gas deliveries and oil products.
"Sanctions will not hinder us in our joint cooperation," Sergei Shmatko said, when asked about joint oil and gas projects after the signing ceremony with Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi.
Shmatko also said Russian firms could supply Iran with refined oil products.
U.S. laws sanction any company worldwide that exports the motor fuel to Iran in an effort to deter Tehran`s nuclear enrichment activities. Iran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.
Iran, dependent on imports to satisfy its citizens` voracious appetite for state subsidized gasoline, has been shunned by many of its traditional suppliers, including independent trade houses and the trade arm of Russia`s No.2 oil firm LUKOIL.
"We have not discussed trading operations, but if there is commercial interest and attractive terms Russian companies are ready to supply oil products to Iran without any doubt," Shmatko said.
The text of the pact said the two countries will aim to increase cooperation in transit, swaps and marketing of natural gas as well as sales of petroleum products and petrochemicals.
"We are neighbors and if a big project to create a south-north transport corridor is implemented I believe that we will create long-term supply opportunities, including for oil products," Shmatko said.
The two ministries also said they agreed "to prepare a broad joint road map for agreement on activities in power, nuclear energy and renewables" The ministers will meet again in the fourth quarter of 2010 to finalize agreements.
Executives of major Russian and Iranian companies were present at the signing ceremony on Wednesday but agreed only two deals to boost cooperation. Iranian national oil company NIOC signed a protocol with Russia`s gas engineering company Cryogenmash to help it gasify 8,000 cities and villages in Iran with the use of liquefied natural gas technology.
Russian power engineering firm REP Holding signed with NIOC a deal to help modernize the Iranian oil industry. No further details were given during the signing.