|At a Glance:
Oil is responsible for roughly 85 percent
of Iran's export revenue, between 40-50 percent of the Iranian government's
budget, and between 10-20 percent of Iran's gross domestic product.
Current statistics put Iran's proven oil reserves at 90 billion barrels,
or roughly 9 percent of the world's total. Most of Iran's oil wealth
is concentrated in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, only miles
away from Iran's border with Iraq.
The Iranian government is counting on foreign investment to boost
its oil production. Foreign investment in Iranian oil and gas operations
currently amounts to US$12 billion, a figure Iranian ministers hope
will double by 2005. Most Iranian oil currently flows to Asia, notably
through the Japan National Oil Company and its subsidiaries, which
have the contracts to develop some of southwestern Iran's most significant
In 1995, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed executive orders prohibiting
U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries from conducting business
in Iran, and specifically any "contract for the financing of
the development of petroleum resources located in Iran." The
U.S. Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1996 imposes mandatory and
discretionary sanctions on non-U.S. companies investing more than
US$20 million annually in Iranian oil and gas. As a result, U.S.-based
oil giant Conoco has abrogated a US$550-million contract to develop
two offshore oil and gas fields, leaving the door open to France's
Total and Malaysia's Petronas oil companies. On Aug. 19, 1997, Executive
Order 13059 reaffirmed that U.S. citizens are prohibited from virtually
all trade and investment in Iran. In late July 2001, the U.S. Congress
voted overwhelmingly to renew ILSA for five more years.
Population: 66,128,965 (July 2001
Industries: Petroleum, petrochemicals,
textiles, cement, armaments.
Exports: $25 billion (2000 est.),
85 percent oil and gas.
Italy, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, France, China
Energy Production Exported: 60
Oil and Gas Exported, in Dollars:
$15.1 billion (1996 est.)
Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy, Economist
Intelligence Unit, CIA