Possible alternatives to improve the efficiency of the Iranian method of buyback transaction in relation to the international oil and gas contractual framework
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
Although the Iranian buyback contract has been widespread since 1989, this model has not been sufficiently and comprehensively analysed in academic works. Hence, this research offers a critical examination of the Iranian method of oil transactions, buyback, from distinctive perspectives in order to clarify the reasons behind the creation of the model, as well as applicable ways to modernise the mechanism. Initially, the work focuses on the development of the method of petroleum transactions in Iran from the early concessions, the Nationalisation event, and the annulment of all agreements, due to the Revolution of 1979 in order to point out the reasons behind the adoption of such a harsh model by analysing the historical, political, geo-political, and legal concerns about Iranian buyback. Considering the Iranian buyback from such angels has crystallised that this harsh model is the outcome of the constant argument between the necessity of international investment and knowledge to develop the petroleum sector, from one side, and the weariness of International participation in oil industry, from the other side, due to the negative historical and political experience of Iranians towards foreign involvement in the oil sector. This research, by analysing the current practice of the model, has proven the fact that despite the long duration of exercising the Iranian buyback, it could not compete with other mechanisms in absorbing international investments which is the consequence of the unattractive features of the model, including the unnecessary preventive provisions. As a result, this study, based on the detailed examination of the model from the above-mentioned angles and comparative analysis of the other major international contractual mechanisms, firstly, highlights the necessity of improving the efficiency of the model, secondly, it selects the evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach towards the future of Iranian buyback, and finally offers applicable reforms to make the model more attractive. Consequently, this research concludes that although changes to the current Iranian contractual system will probably occur, a radical change to another method is a very remote possibility, as a result of the permissive historical, political and legal attitudes towards such radical changes. Thus, this study confirms the superiority of the evolutionary approach over revolutionary reform.
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