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Oil Companies Push For Global CO2 Tax While Pining For Iranian Oil

European oil companies recently wrote a letter to the United Nations to push for a global pricing system for carbon dioxide emissions while also voicing support for access to Iran’s vast oil reserves.

“We believe that a price on carbon should be a key element of these frameworks,” the CEOs of BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, BG Group, Eni and Statoil wrote in a letter to the U.N.’s climate bureaucracy.

These oil companies are already burdened by national policies taxing carbon dioxide emissions as well as a European cap-and-trade system. the point of the letter is to urge the U.N. to push for a predictable global price (or tax) on carbon dioxide. Their letter comes as U.N. delegates meet in Bonn, Germany to discuss climate issues.

“If governments act to price carbon, this discourages high carbon options and encourages the most efficient ways of reducing emissions widely,” the oil CEOs wrote. “Pricing carbon obviously adds a cost to our production and our products – but carbon pricing policy frameworks will contribute to provide our businesses and their many stakeholders with a clear roadmap for future investment, a level playing field for all energy sources across geographies and a clear role in securing a more sustainable future.”

But some of these same companies have also openly declared their interest in increased access to Iranian oil if economic sanctions against the country are lifted. Less than a week after oil companies lobbied the U.N. for a global carbon price, they went on the record in support of opening Iran up for business.

Bloomberg reports that European oil companies are excited to see Iran opened up for business, expressing their support for such a development at the ongoing OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria.

“We like Iran,” said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne after a 45-minute meeting with the Iranian oil minister in his hotel suite.

“Iran is a wonderful country with a fantastic resource base,” Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of The Hague-based Shell, told Bloomberg at an OPEC conference in Vienna. “As soon as there is legitimate opportunity, we will be looking at Iran.”

BP CEO Bob Dudley told Bloomberg his company was “very much” interested in Iranian investments once sanctions are lifted by the U.S. and its allies.

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