European Companies to Begin Gas and Oil Operations in Iran

Published by:

In light of the softening of international tension, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has engaged in an agreement with several European companies and investors to initiate excavation and extraction of newly discovered natural gas and oil reserves in Iran. The final arrangements have yet to be released to the public, but the companies are currently in conference on how to exploit the advantages of an international relationship in regards to Iran’s plentiful reserves of oil and gas. A preliminary contract has been signed between NIOC and Russia’s LUKOIL together with Italian Eni SPA Oil, with the European corporation being the first to the negotiations table.

NIOC is primarily engaged in operations of exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas in specific locations. The company is also heavily invested in drilling operations, refining, transport, marketing, distribution and export of the final products, also including petrochemicals in their assortment. The company is based in Tehran and was officially founded in 1948 with a focus of engineering and construction of drilling installations. NIOC is headed by Roknoddin Javadi, appointed as Managing Director by Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh. Javadi is also the current Managing Director of Iran’s Oil Industries Engineering and Construction (OIEC), which has been contracted by NIOC in multiple past projects in oil field exploration and extraction. Javade previously served as Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC), and was leading the company when former president Khatami’s administration agreed to sign the Crescent Gas Contract.

Whether or not the final agreement between NIOC and its European partners will have an impact on the instability in current global oil market prices remains to be seen.

Iran Deal Weakens Oil Prices and Affects Local and Global Markets

Published by:

Speculations regarding a potential nuclear agreement between Iran and six of the major influential countries in the world has had a direct impact on both oil prices and market commodities. After the historic accord, which is meant to regulate Tehran’s nuclear program for the coming ten years as well as remove current economic sanctions, was announced among Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, global markets immediately responded with an initial drop in commodity prices.

The expectation of future oil supplies from Iran being available, caused crude oil prices to fall to around $50 per barrel, a drop of more than 2.5%. The instant drop was followed by a significant recovery of around 1%. The falling prices had a domino effect on the precious metals market, which was already evident when the anticipation caused a weakness in copper and crude prices, with a ripple effect across the precious metals complex, locally and globally.

Oil is traded on a basis that transcends its value as a fuel source. With close to $3.5 trillion changing hands annually, it’s also a strategic political asset and a financial weapon to be deployed. The setting of oil prices is both a leading indicator and a fount of hindsight for the tense situation around the Persian Gulf, which has as much to do with regional and global politics and economics as it is about supply and demand.

Gold, however, was barely impacted by the drop and has been traded in fairly narrow range. Valued at the same level as oil in terms of global economic strategy, the precious metal has withstood the uncertainty of its market equivalent. Most analysts agree that prices in gold are not expected to fall in tandem with weaker oil prices, and warned investors that they should be cautious not to overestimate the link between oil and gold, as the two commodities are currently responding to different market factors. Precious metals analysts say that oil is primarily reacting to the supply-side of market dynamics, but also that the proposed deal could have a negative impact on gold as well, as the reduction in geopolitical conflict of interests will impact the metal’s status as a long-term asset on.

Market strategists with RBC Capital Markets Global Futures explain the situation by pointing out the supply issue as the main reason the initial drop in oil prices didn’t affect gold as much as other precious metals or physical assets. The price of oil is falling because investors are mainly concerned about weaker economic growth in China, a major player on the gold market, which is why they are not putting up their gold bars for sale yet. Although purchase of physical gold has been positively correlated with oil, the current drop level still remains close to negligible. The recent decline in commodities linked to precious metals has yet to affect gold prices and the rolling correlations with oil are still in the lower end of the range, meaning any further pressure on crude oil due to the upcoming agreement is likely to have limited effect.

Some experts warn investors and trading partners around the Persian Gulf that lower oil prices will have a negative impact on precious commodities, gold included. Based on the positive correlation between precious metals and other key commodity values, it would be reasonable to expect gold to follow their direction in price, only with less volatility. This could mean that copper and gold prices will fall in relation to oil, as the implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran draws nearer.

Quality Management – SGS Iran Limited Tehran

Published by:

SGS was established in 1878 with operations in European grain trading through innovative agricultural inspection and maintenance services. The company is registered as a Société Générale de Surveillance in Geneva since 1919, with shares on the Swiss Exchange first available in 1985. SGS is structured as ten separate business segments with branches across ten regions. The current organization was formed in 2001 and has become of the leaders in the quality management industry. Their focus lies on continual innovation and service improvement via closely monitored customer operations support, risk reduction and productivity improvement.

Group Profile

SGS has a reputation of being one of the world’s leading companies in terms of verification, certification, testing and inspection, with high quality and integrity standards. The company has a network of more than 1,600 offices, laboratories and test facilities, with more than 80,000 employees.

Their core services are as follow:

  • Inspection: includes quantity and quality control, regulation conditioning and regional requirement checking
  • Testing: a global network of testing facilities working to reduce risks, processing and marketing times, increase safety, quality and performance and ensure the meeting of relevant standards
  • Certification: enabling the demonstration of systems, services, processes and services, and their compliance with national or international regulations and customer defined demands
  • Verification: covers the entire supply chain from processing and production from raw materials to final customer consumption, while checking the validity against local and global requirements

Areas of staff expertise include:

  • Agriculture and Food
  • Automotive and Aviation
  • Chemical
  • Construction
  • Consumer Goods and Retail
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • Life Sciences
  • Logistics
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Public Sector
  • Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Health and Safety
  • Environment
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability
  • Trade
  • Training Services

Company Vision and Values

SGS strives to go beyond customer and society expectations to deliver leading services to clients and market. They aim to provide specialized solutions to businesses in order to improve their productivity and standard achievement, adding operations value and long-term company sustainability in both development and corporate commitment. The Corporate Sustainability section of SGS has as its mission to consider all positive and negative social, economic and environmental effects. With a core competency in inspection, verification, testing and certification under continuous optimizing, the vision is to be the most productive and competitive service organization on the market. Company values lie in innovatie entrepreneurialism, passion and integrity that make up the foundation upon which the company operates.

The SGS Academy

With an impressive track record, SGS provides public, in-house and online courses to any company or organization. Their training is conducted under the supervision of expert personnel with both theoretical and practical experience in their related fields. The objective range from fundamental education in standards to high-level auditor competency, with all trainers certified in quality management regulation developments, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 13485, and regional regulations in US, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. The programs are flexible and custom-tailored to fill any gaps in skill or knowledge found during an initial analysis audit procedure. The goal is to ensure that the final product is of satisfactory quality and not compromised by a lack of standard awareness before being released to specific markets.

Customer Experience

The company meets and exceeds all requirements needed to provide worldwide, independent services that make a difference. Their international experts help clients operate in more efficient and sustainable processes by meticulous streamlining, quality and productivity improvement, risk and flaw reduction, and compliance testing and verification. With solid core sections for service activities and an extensive coverage of various industry sectors, we can safely recommend SGS and the SGS Academy, no matter the industry or market.

Air Quality Management and Pollution Reduction in Tehran

Published by:

urban traffic

Tehran sits as the capital Iran, covering a total area of about 450 square miles with the city’s North and East being surrounded by mountains. Tehran is facing an increasing air pollution issue due to urban and industrial development and an increasing population. This independent study will introduce a brief summary of the air pollution situation, regulations, management systems and standards, followed by a description of implemented air pollution reduction measures. This will include causes for delays in the action plan’s time schedule that was approved by the Iranian government, summed up by suggested parameters for solving the issue and minimize failure experiences.

Population Increase and Urban Development

Tehran is a major industrial and economical city. Its air pollution is mainly increasing due to rapid rise in population and industrial development. 30 years ago, more than 95% of the city’s population resided in the Municipality of Tehran (MOT), but these numbers have recently decreased to 65% with 30% now residing in the suburbs. The strongest growth period was seen in 1960-1970, during which time the city’s population growth was over 200,000 persons per year.

The MOT lies under the supervision of Tehran’s city council, appointed by general election. The council members then appoints the Mayor of the city. Five branches of the MOT are related to total quality management of air pollution control (4 companies, 1 organization):

  • Air Quality Control Company (AQCC)
  • Relocation and Systemizing of Urban Industrial and Trade Occupation Company (RSUITOC)
  • Tehran Traffic Control Company (TTCC)
  • Tehran Vehicle Technical Inspection Bureau (TVTIB)
  • Tehran Traffic and Transportation Organization (TTTO)

TQM responsibility of air pollution falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environment (DOE). According to research data collected by the DOE and AQCC, the city is one of the worst in the world in terms of urban air pollution, with mobile emission sources being worse than stationary. A third-party study from JICA showed about 70% of current air pollution is produced from mobile sources. With an increase in urbanization and energy consumption, the air pollution related to stationary emission sources will also continue to increase.

Regulation Standards

The Municipality Act, passed by parliament in 1955, includes one item agenda relating to air pollution control (stationary emission sources) with the DOE being established in 1973 in accordance with environmental law. A Clean Air Act was passed in 1995, which classifies the air pollution sources into three groups:

  1. Motor vehicles
  2. Power plants, factories and workshops
  3. Business and miscellaneous domestic sources

According to Clean Air Act, following regulations were implemented:

  • All importers and producers of 4 stroke engine motorbikes must comply with ECE-40-01 standards
  • Time schedule for implementation of above item to be changed by recognition of the DOE
  • The DOE has as duty to reconsider every three years the aforementioned standard in compliance with the Ministry of Oil (MOO) and the Ministry of Industry (MOI)

Major concerns of MOT transportation sector are as follow:

  • Increasing public transportation capacity
  • Public persuasion towards public transport
  • A change in fuel sources of buses from low gas-oil to natural gas
  • Annual inspection of all vehicles
  • Increase the numbers of intelligent traffic signals
  • Installation of parking meters on the city center’s roadsides
  • A common ticket system for public transport to simplify passenger changes

While the proposed laws and regulation standards are theoretically sufficient, the problem is actual implementation. The effectiveness is not properly acceptable, because of budget deficiencies and a lack of communication and interaction between related parties. Also, public compliance according to set standards is too low, with more education and awareness on the subject of air pollution and its relation to human health required.

Quality Management Flaws

There’s a lack of a managing system with sufficient authority to enforce related parties to implement their specific duties according to scheduled action plan. Shortage of budget delays the transition from older vehicles to more environmentally efficient, reducing pollution from mobile sources. The first priority of MOT is quantity and quality development of the industrial sector, with meeting emission standards as second priority. DOE personnel lack required expertise in dealing with industrial inspections, type approval and production of vehicles regulations. There’s a clear deficit of close interaction between related authorities responsible for duty implementation of the action plan. More suitable and wide-spread programs for public awareness and education regarding air pollution impacts are needed. No approval system to participate citizen, NGO, enterprises or universities is in place.

Suggested Solutions

By Own Resources

It is vital for the MOT to put the action plan in first priority as the completion of its related projects will take longer time than initially proposed. The completion of underground traffic lines, a change of fuel sources, completion of a citywide ITS system, creation of parking spaces and construction of a integrated inspection maintenance system will require a bigger budget than the current $750 million that are made available each year.

By Other Resources

The MOT can carry out needed projects in cooperation with domestic private sectors, international investment parties and loans. Public awareness relating to the issue could be integrated with other Ministries and organizations could alleviate the lack of powerful management, lack of budget and shortage of expertise. A wider network would have an easier time implementing the action plan, starting with introduction and execution of the standards regarding inspection maintenance.

Iran Air – A Complete Customer Experience Review

Published by:

airline

Iran Air was founded as a company in 1944 under the name Iranian Airways, with provided services such as passenger flight and cargo delivery in a both domestic and regional capacity, as well as European freight services. It was merged with Persian Air Services in 1954 to form the Iran National Airlines Corporation or Iran Air for short. The company is ranked as one of the world’s most profitable airlines and is counted among the fastest expanding business around the globe. It has a stellar safety record with no accidents or serious incidents reported in the last ten years of consecutive order.

Services of Notice

Passenger Services

The passenger handling service at Iran Air is separated into 2 sub-units: Special Passenger Handling and Baggage Claim. In addition to standard check-in procedures, system operation management and safety and security routines, Iran Air has a special unit dedicated to receiving passengers with special needs, including passengers with reduced mobility or disability, sick or elderly passengers in wheelchairs or on stretchers, and children travelling as unaccompanied minors. The staff helps these passengers on and off the aircraft by using specially equipped transport cars. This service is available to anyone through the use of a notification to set up necessary arrangements prior to flight. Baggage Claim is responsible for locating lost baggage with the duty to compensate customers for damaged goods and additional expenses. The company uses World Tracer System, which is able to trace and find lost materiel to be transferred to the desired destination.

Safety Regulation and Quality Assurance

Iran Air is connected to ICAO, IATA and IR CAO, as well as a host of other international regulation bodies to always operate under updated standards and keeping both national and international sections and departments up to date. Their safety section is monitoring the operation of all individual flights and analyzes real-time data relevant to risk assessment and air/ground conditions by exchanging information with the ground handling unit. In terms of quality control, the company employs several qualified field experts with the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating personnel, in-house training programs and follow-up protocols for removal of discovered operational or organizational shortcomings. The Customer Service Evaluation Unit develops and employs strategies to promote the user experience of Iran Air passengers as its foremost investment, as well as measures the behavior of staff employees and examines passenger claims, complaints and feedback.

Engineering and Maintenance

The Engineering and Maintenance section of Iran Air is rated among the leading aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services in the region and carries a IRI CAO certification for performance services, including Line and Base, component supply and maintenance training programs. The company has more than 1700 qualified employees for this task as well as access to the latest integrated repair-comprehensive services and facilities. The staff is regularly contracted by the government for quality control for the Iran Air fleet and other airlines.

Customer Review

I flew from Dubai to Tehran on Airbus A300-600. The flight itself took a little longer than I would have liked, due to a refuelling stop that extends travel time by approximately one hour. The passenger sections are roomy and my seat was quite comfortable with plenty of space to stretch one’s legs. The staff was very friendly and professional, spoke fluent English and accommodated all my requirements. There was obviously no alcohol served on the flight, but the food was excellent, which was a nice surprise and deviation from standard air fare. I even asked for seconds and got one without any problems. There was also a vegetarian alternative on the menu for passengers of that persuasion. The aircraft didn’t have the latest comfort apparels that many are used to. There was no WiFi and you could only watch movies on a big screen, but I’m not much into those things anyhow. Overall it was a more than enjoyable experience and I can highly recommend Iran Air if you’re planning to visit the Persian Gulf any time soon.