As world powers edge toward a possible nuclear deal with Iran, the country is emerging as possible prize for oil firms.
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Now, as Iran and the U.S. enter 11th-hour negotiations to reach a nuclear deal and ease sanctions, the Middle Eastern country is emerging again as a potential prize for Western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Total SA.Worse, Iran has failed to develop much of its gas reserves.Jason Bordoff is a former White House oil official who was involved in designing sanctions against Iran and is now at Columbia University. He says Iran needs anywhere from $50 billion to $100 billion in investment from foreign oil groups to boost output. BP, Shell and Eni declined to comment.When Iran voted to nationalize British oil interests in 1951, London responded first with an oil embargo and later orchestrated a coup with the help of the CIA, codenamed "Operation Ajax," to overthrow Iran's nationalist prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh.The nationalization was quickly reversed and a group of foreign oil firms, which included the forerunners of BP, Shell, Total, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., effectively managed the day-to-day of Iran's oil industry until the early days of what became the Islamic Revolution.
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