NIOC and the State – Commercialization, Contestation and Consolidation in the Islamic Republic of Iran
While Iran’s oil industry has long been a subject of great interest for academics, industry analysts and the news media surprisingly little attention has been paid to the institutional apparatus of the Iranian hydrocarbon sector and its embeddedness in networks of political power. The institutional embodiment of Iran’s oil industry is the nominally state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). However, this paper argues that the relationships between NIOC and the political claimants that surround it resist simple definition. Furthermore, it is only in the detailed study of these relationships that developments in the Iranian hydrocarbon sector can properly be understood. The paper draws extensively on Persian language media reports to trace the roots of the current consolidation of oil industry governance under individuals and companies affiliated with the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).