Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Commercial Affairs, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, and Deputy Director of China’s National Energy Administration, Zhang Yuqing, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on long-term cooperation in the oil and gas sector, including the promotion of Abadan Refinery in southwestern Iran, Financial Tribune reported.

According to Zamaninia, the agreement calls for increasing the extraction of oil and condensates by Chinese operators. It was originally scheduled to be signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tehran in January, but was put on hold because the two sides failed to finalize the agreement on time, SHANA Reported.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Zamaninia said: “Iran is open to partner with reliable Chinese companies under a competitive atmosphere to develop its crude oil and natural gas fields”. In addition, he stressed on their friendly relationship saying that China always stood by Iran in negotiations with six world powers on its nuclear program and that Tehran-Beijing ties are in their “best form”.

On his side, Zang noted that Chinese refineries purchase nearly half of Iran’s total crude exports, adding that Chinese firms provide oil equipment at a reasonable price and quality. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer and has been one of the most important customers of Iranian crude before and during the sanctions.