David Ramin Jalilvand

Research Associate

Dr. David Ramin Jalilvand is a Berlin-based analyst and consultant. His work focuses on the interplay of energy and international politics in Iran and the Middle East. Between 2015 and 2018, he led the Iran program of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Berlin. He earned a PhD in Political Science from the Free University of Berlin in 2016 with a thesis on the energy sector, politics, and the economy in Iran. Previously, he studied at the London School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, and Erfurt University. Most recently, he co-edited The Political and Economic Challenges of Energy in the Middle East and North Africa (with Kirsten Westphal, Routledge 2018).

Contact

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                    [post_content] => Once more, Iran is confronted with sanctions. They mark a turning point, reversing the complicated and gradual return of Iran to global energy markets following the conclusion of the nuclear deal in 2015.

For Iran, the consequences of sanctions are profound. Both the economy and the government budget have been hit hard. The energy sector plays a central role in this context. Here, on one side, the impact of sanctions is dramatic. The post-JCPOA recovery of oil exports and production has been undone. With respect to upstream capabilities, on the other side, the impact has been rather moderate in the sense that Tehran did not succeed anyway in making IOCs engage meaningfully in Iran after the conclusion of the JCPOA. Matters will largely remain the same insofar as local companies will continue to play the central role in running the industry. In the mid- to long-run, due to sanctions, the Iranian energy industry will not only remain below its potential relative to its reserve base. Iran will also face a strategic setback as it is losing market shares while the oil market is becoming increasingly competitive. In this context, Iran is further disadvantaged as it cannot join competitors like Saudi Arabia or the UAE in investing and making acquisitions in Asian downstream markets with the objective of securing future demand. In natural gas, in contrast, Iran’s production is set to remain on a growth path. Already the backbone of economic activity in Iran today, natural gas is therefore set to further increase its importance – not only relative to oil but also to the economy as a whole.

Amid the re-imposition of US sanctions, this comment reviews recent developments in Iranian energy. An assessment of the sanctions’ immediate impact is followed by an analysis of the fallout from sanctions among the main importers of Iranian energy. Thereafter, the political and economic consequences for Iran are studied, before attempting to assess what is ahead as the industry attempts to cope with sanctions.
                    [post_title] => Back to Square One? Iranian Energy after the Re-Imposition of US Sanctions
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                    [post_content] => On May 8, the United States announced their immediate and full withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This came with the re-imposition of all nuclear-related US sanctions and possibly several new sanctions.

It is common knowledge that before implementation of the JCPOA in January 2016, Iran’s energy industry has been suffering tremendously from international sanctions. Amongst others, the sanctions caused a sharp decline in oil exports and forced all European companies out of the country.

The resulting question is: What consequences will there be for Iranian energy this time? The brief answer is that the short-term effects will be lower than in 2012, and mainly consist of a decline in oil exports in the range of perhaps 15 to 20 per cent compared with 2017 levels of around 2.5 million b/d. At least for some time, the loss in oil exports will be offset by larger oil revenue as a result of higher oil prices. In the long-run, though, the country’s oil and natural gas sector is probably going to be confronted with a formidable challenge.
                    [post_title] => The US Exit from the JCPOA: What Consequences for Iranian Energy?
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                    [post_content] => After more than a decade of announcements and negotiations, the launch of natural gas exports to Iraq and the conclusion of oil and natural gas contracts with Chinese, French, and Russian companies mark significant positive developments for Iran. These initial steps remain below the hopes and expectations of Iranian officials and executives as expressed in the context of the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But, they do constitute important initial successes on Iran’s journey to reconnecting its energy industry internationally. Iran is keen to build on these developments but the future of relations between Iran and the global energy industry will depend to a large extent on how the standoff over the JCPOA unfolds. As long as Tehran abides by the JCPOA, it does not appear likely the EU will reinstate its energy and financial sanctions against Iran. Thus, despite opposing predictions by some analysts, it seems unlikely that a withdrawal from the JCPOA by the US would directly translate into Iranian oil exports falling dramatically – even though some US partners, especially in Asia, may voluntarily choose to partially reduce some of their Iranian oil imports. Nevertheless a US withdrawal from the JCPOA, and the potential re-imposition of extra-territorial US sanctions, would hit Iran’s energy sector hard. Potential penalties on US energy and financial markets would also certainly result in European IOCs effectively being unable to invest in the country. Arguably, the way in which events on the global stage develop will also have direct implications for the domestic political debate surrounding Iranian energy. The lower the level of investment and commitment from international companies to Iran’s energy industry, the weaker the position of President Rohani will be in his attempt to reduce the economic profile of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
                    [post_title] => Progress, challenges, uncertainty: ambivalent times for Iran’s energy sector
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One year ago, on 16 January 2016, the Iran nuclear deal was formally implemented. Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal was concluded in July 2015 between Iran and the ‘E3+3’, which comprises France, Germany, and Great Britain, China, Russia, and the United States. In essence, the JCPOA allows for the lifting of several sanctions against Iran in exchange for limitations on, and greater international inspections of, Iran’s nuclear programme. In the Iranian energy sector, the JCPOA was greeted with hope and expectations of a revival. Sanctions have constrained the industry for several years; amongst other effects they have forced Western companies to leave the country and reduced oil production and exports. Indeed, implementation of the JCPOA was accompanied by the lifting of energy sector-related sanctions and has encouraged several international oil companies (IOCs) to move to Iran to explore the potential for co-operation. Against this backdrop, it is worth examining the merits of the JCPOA for the Iranian energy sector up to this point – a year since the beginning of its implementation. It is argued in this comment that the Iranian government has been trying to strike a balance between various competing power centres at home, while attempting to hedge risks at the international stage. On the ground, however, actual progress has been rather modest so far. Iran has increased its oil production to the pre-sanctions level but is still waiting to see an expansion of its productive capacity. In the meantime, uncertainty with regard to the outlook of Iran’s energy sector has increased, as the future course of US policy – incoming President Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of the JCPOA – remains unclear.

[post_title] => Iranian Energy: a comeback with hurdles [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => iranian-energy-comeback-hurdles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-12 10:04:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-12 10:04:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/?post_type=publications&p=30013 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publications [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27478 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2013-06-12 13:05:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-12 12:05:22 [post_content] => Iran is an enigma – a country always expected to become a major exporter that became a net importer. For those concerned with the future of international gas trade, it is the perennial “elephant in the room” – a country which could, one day, become a major exporter. Its resource endowment means that Iran can never be ignored in discussions of potential future gas trade, but such discussions need to be tempered both by the history of pipeline and LNG projects which have meant that, since the 1970s, the country has never been more than a marginal player in international gas commerce. David Jalilvand’s paper looks at why Iran has failed to become a major gas exporter over the past several decades, and the prospects for it to emerge as a significant force in international gas trade. [post_title] => Iran’s gas exports: can past failure become future success? 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For Iran, the consequences of sanctions are profound. Both the economy and the government budget have been hit hard. The energy sector plays a central role in this context. Here, on one side, the impact of sanctions is dramatic. The post-JCPOA recovery of oil exports and production has been undone. With respect to upstream capabilities, on the other side, the impact has been rather moderate in the sense that Tehran did not succeed anyway in making IOCs engage meaningfully in Iran after the conclusion of the JCPOA. Matters will largely remain the same insofar as local companies will continue to play the central role in running the industry. In the mid- to long-run, due to sanctions, the Iranian energy industry will not only remain below its potential relative to its reserve base. Iran will also face a strategic setback as it is losing market shares while the oil market is becoming increasingly competitive. 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Latest Publications by David Ramin Jalilvand