A deal between Canada and Iran will allow the oil-rich country to diversify away from crude exports and into renewable energy, a major step forward in the international oil industry.
The accord, signed Monday in Ottawa, allows Canada to purchase oil from Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for about $20 billion, which will help to diversified the Canadian oil industry while also increasing Canada’s share of global oil exports.
“Canada’s contribution to the global oil market will increase and it will enable Canada to diversifying its resources away from the crude oil that is consumed by Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the signing ceremony.
Iran’s National Oil Company has long been an important Canadian export market and it has been seeking to diversifiy its energy resources away for the past five years.
“We’re very happy to be able to continue to export Canadian oil to the world and to have our contribution to that increase,” Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations Andre Kostin said in a statement.
The deal, which is the largest-ever deal between two countries in the energy sector, was signed just hours before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with his counterparts from Iran, China and Russia at the G20 Summit in Germany.
The two countries agreed to a comprehensive oil-for-energy deal in exchange for lifting sanctions and curbing the country’s nuclear program.
Under the agreement, Iran will be allowed to sell oil from its oil fields to Canada through a new pipeline system, which also will help it diversify into renewable energies, including wind, solar and biofuels.
The agreement is expected to benefit the Canadian economy and is expected at the summit to lead to further trade ties.
“This is an important milestone for Canada and a major milestone in the wider global effort to diversification of oil resources, to diversifications that are going to create a cleaner, greener and more sustainable economy,” Trudeau said.
“Our government is determined to make our economy stronger, our world more secure, and we’re very grateful to the people of Canada for their support.”
A major component of the agreement is that Canada will receive oil from the newly created NIOC’s “super-deepwater” field, which lies approximately 200 kilometres off the coast of the Persian Gulf.
The NIOC fields will be used for oil storage, processing and transportation of oil.
It will also provide a network of pipelines that will allow oil from NIOC to be transported via Canada’s pipeline network to Iran’s major refineries.
The oil will be transported through a pipeline system that will be operated by Canada’s Petro-Canada, a joint venture between Petro-Cann Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.
Canada is one of the largest importers of Iranian oil, with the country having about 1,600,000 barrels per day of oil exports worth $9.4 billion last year.
Iran, a small but influential country in the Middle East, is a key partner for Canada in its oil-to-trade program with Iran.
Canada’s oil exports have been a source of tension with Tehran, which has targeted Canada with sanctions over its nuclear program and has threatened to attack Canada’s oil-sands resources.
Iran has not only maintained its sanctions against Canada but has also increased the number of its vessels in the Persian Sea and blocked some Canadian oil tanker traffic to the region.
Iran is also a major player in the global supply chain for Canadian oil and natural gas, which includes the production of petrochemicals and heavy oils, which are used to produce plastics and other products.