China’s CNPC ‘takes over Total’s share in big Iran gas project’

13 Août, 2018, 08:24 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Top officials from Total CNPC and Petropars as well as Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh  in the signing ceremony for the development of South Pars Phase 11

Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that China's state-owned petroleum corporation has taken a majority share of the country's South Pars gas project after French oil and gas company Total announced it would pull out because renewed USA economic sanctions against Iran.

Total had said it would pull out of the project unless it secured a waiver. Total had originally agreed to take a 50.1 per cent interest. The second wave that would hit in November would ban investments in Iran's oil and gas projects. Terms of the contract have not yet officially changed, though, according to Shana, the oil ministry's official news site. Calls to CNPC went unanswered on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Total declined to comment.

Total, which finalized its agreement with Iran in July 2017, had already spent some €40-million ($45.7-million) on the project when Trump announced in May that the USA would exit the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

It was the first Western energy investment in the Islamic republic after sanctions were lifted in 2016.

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The renewal of US sanctions took effect on Tuesday.

Scores of European companies, including Total, have withdrawn their operations and investments from the oil-rich Persian Gulf country since the US reversal.

Total and CNPC are part of an global consortium that signed a deal with Iran's state oil firm National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in 2017 to develop Phase II of the South Pars field, which has the world's biggest natural gas reserves ever found in one place.

Total had previously withdrawn from the field in 2009 because of sanctions. It planned an initial investment of $1 billion for Phase 11, with the aim of eventually producing 2 billion cubic feet a day, or 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day including condensate, the company said in a statement in July 2017.

CNPC has been active in Iran since 2004, operating in oil, gas and oil-field services, according to the company's website.

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