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Iran again choosing local

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Sadra Shipbuilding Plant, the same Iranian company that two weeks ago built the first oil tanker for Venezuela has now launched its second barge for transportation of platform jackets for the offshore South Pars field developments. The ship's name is Mahdis II and was built in 6 months with a total weight of 1,500 meters ton and a length of 84 meters. Its predecessor Mahdis I was launched last year also as a transport ship for the massive South Pars gas field.

Since the latest sanctions two years ago saw the pulling out of major international players from Iran's oil and gas fields, Iran awarded most of its ongoing projects to local Iranian companies. These companies had either been working in the past alongside foreign companies or had been major players in their own right on other major projects. For example, the first phase of the 25 phase South Pars gas project was finished by an Iranian company called Petropars. This was before foreign companies were awarded later phases. After its completion, Petropars also completed phases 4 and 5 on this project. It has become a major player both in other projects in Iran and also internationally. A sister company of Petropars, Iranian Oil Company (IOC), is in-charge of a part of the North Sea gas field. Iran owns 50% of the offshore gas field which is Britain's largest untapped gas field. Indecently, this project has been shut down for now because of sanctions, which is also a loss for the UK.

The new Mahdis II will be used by Petropars and Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Co. Such ships were rented in the past by Iran from abroad and now since they are being built local, they can even be rented back out to foreign countries needing them.

Iran's ship building industry has had a rebirth after a few things changed. Sanctions and government pressure to go local pushed the industry to aim for new challenges. The newest endeavor has been called for by Iran's Parliament. They would like Iran to start building nuclear powered cargo ships to avoid having to refuel in foreign ports that can at times refuse to do so because of sanctions. The military has built its first war ship a year ago and the second will be launched this year. There are plans for up to 10 such ships being built. A few years ago Iran achieved a goal that had taken a few hundered years to become reality. Not since the old Persian empire had Iran a blue navy. This means its ships are now plying the open oceans versus patroling near its home ports. Watch for new things to come out of Iran in the near future!

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I am a business consultant by day working to bring Iranian businesses into the international market and in the evenings a journalist. My hope is to show the real Iran to the western world.
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