NIOC (TEHRAN) _ After years of political interference and international sanctions during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some Iranian officials and foreign investors are looking to Zanganeh to restore the global clout of Iran's oil industry.
With Zanganeh, "we hope Iran's petroleum will regain its international status and the grounds will be prepared to attract of domestic and foreign investors," said Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh, managing director of state-owned oil contractor Iranian Offshore Oil Company.
Zanganeh's eight-year tenure under former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who accelerated efforts to open up the economy, is remembered by many officials and foreign companies as a golden age for the country's oil industry.
After offering so-called buy-back contracts that gave a share of production to foreign companies in exchange for covering oil field costs, Zanganeh attracted billions in investment from European giants like Norway's Statoil ASA (STO), France's Total SA (TOT) or Italy's Eni SpA (E). That drove up its crude oil production 10% to 4.1 million barrels a day, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Zanganeh's success will still largely depend on the outcome of stalled international negotiations to resolve the nuclear standoff.