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OPEC Veteran Zanganeh to Be Reappointed as Iran Oil Minister

Source: 8/9/2017, Location: Asia

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Iranís President Hassan Rouhani proposed the reappointment of its longest-serving oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who fought to restore crude production and closed a landmark deal with Total SA to develop the Persian Gulf countryís share of the worldís biggest natural gas field.

Rouhani submitted names of his cabinet nominees, including Zanganeh, for parliamentary approval. Zanganeh, a 65-year-old engineer who served two presidents as oil minister, succeeded in shielding Iran from joining global cuts in crude production by OPEC and other major suppliers. Parliament is set to vote on his reappointment starting next week.

During the first of his two terms as oil minister, from 1997 until 2005, Zanganeh enticed foreign companies including Total and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to help revive Iranís oil and gas fields after years of under-investment. He returned to the post in 2013 and boosted the nationís oil exports as production rose by about 1 MMbpd after the easing of economic sanctions in January 2016.

His latest efforts to woo investors bore fruit when Total signed a contract on July 3 to develop South Pars, Iranís share of the largest gas deposit, marking the first major investment by an international energy company since sanctions were scaled back.

When other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided last November to pump less oil to reduce a global glut, Zanganeh wrangled permission for Iran to raise output by 90,000 bpd. He preserved the special arrangement when OPEC and allied producers extended their supply cuts through next March.

Zanganeh was born on June 22, 1952, in the western city of Kermanshah. He graduated with a bachelorís degree in civil engineering from the University of Tehran, where he also earned a masterís degree with distinction in the same subject.

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