The Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), a public listed oil and gas exploration company, told investors that the company was seeking to enter into joint venture with Iranian companies. M Mubbasshar Siddiqui, company secretary, stated that the PPL was interested to enter into the Exploration and Production (E&P) business activities in Iran, as a part of its strategy. \"PPL has evaluated a number of opportunities for investment in oil and gas sector of Iran and is pursuing for government\'s assistance in acquiring working interest in proactive blocks of Iran on government-to-government basis on mutually agreed terms,\" he said. PPL official further stated that the company was \"also interested in opportunity of working with any sound Iranian E&P Company as a joint venture partner in PPL`s operated blocks in Pakistan.\" Faisal Shaji, head of research & Online sales at Standard Capital Securities, thought that it was positive for Pakistan\'s development in the oil and gas sector. Faisal also believed that given the geo-political situation in the Arab world, it should be advantageous for other companies also to venture into new oil and gas fields in countries in the neighborhood. Iran, which sits on the world\'s second largest reserves of both oil and gas, is facing US sanctions over its civilian nuclear program. Iranian officials have dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that they are finding Asian partners instead. A large number of Chinese, Indian and other Asian firms have negotiated or signed up to oil and gas deals with Iran. Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US. Yet, after oil giants in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, they started showing increasing interest to invest or expand work in Iran. Some European states have also recently voiced interest in investment in Iran\'s energy sector after the gas deal was signed between Iran and Switzerland regardless of US sanctions. The National Iranian Gas Export Company and Switzerland\'s Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal in March 2008 for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The biggest recent deal, worth €100m ($147m, £80m), was signed by Steiner Prematechnik Gastec, the German engineering company, in 2009 to build equipment for three gas conversion plants in Iran. On December 2010, the New York Times reported that over the past decade, United States-based companies have done billions of dollars in trade with Iran despite sanctions and trade embargoes imposed on Tehran. One American company, the daily said, was permitted to do work on an Iranian gas pipeline, despite sanctions aimed at Iran\'s gas industry in particular.