A consortium connected to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has been awarded two giant gas development projects and negotiations are under way to finalize three other key deals, an official said Friday.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Ali Vakili, the director of the state-owned Pars Oil and Gas Company, which is awards government oil and gas projects, as saying that Khatam-ol-Anbia will develop phases 13 and 14 of the giant South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf.

The decision comes after European oil giants Shell and Repsol were given two weeks on May 10 to decide on their investments in the Iranian gas project or be replaced by domestic companies.

Khatam-ol-Anbia, considered the Revolutionary Guard’s most important financial unit, is currently the largest contractor of government projects in Iran. The conglomerate has been the contractor for 1,500 of the country’s most important state projects in the past four years.

Awarding the South Pars deals to a company linked to the Guards underscores the military force’s increasing clout in Iran since hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. Since then, Guard-affiliated companies have been won more than 750 government contracts in construction and oil and gas projects.

That has allowed the Guard, which was created after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological bulwark to defend Iran’s clerical rule, to become a vast military-based conglomerate, amassing a network of economic and political power that extends to virtually every aspect of life in Iran.

Talks are currently under way to finalize awarding of phases 22, 23 and 24 of the South Pars field to Khatam-ol-Anbia.

Source » newsok