Total biggest deal with Iran since sanctions lifted…
Iran plans Monday to sign a formal contract with Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp. to develop its share of the world’s biggest natural gas field — the first and biggest investment in the country by an international energy company since sanctions were eased last year.
Total and CNPC signed a “heads of agreement” with National Iranian Oil Co. in November to develop phase 11 of the South Pars offshore gas field, a deal that was valued then at $4.8 billion. Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne will be in Tehran for the signing of the formal agreement, Parastoo Younchi, the Iranian oil ministry official in charge of foreign media relations, said Sunday.
A Total official confirmed that a 20-year contract with very attractive terms will be signed Monday. CNPC officials in Beijing declined to comment. Under the preliminary November accord, Total will control 50.1 percent of the project, while CNPC will have a 30 percent interest and Iran’s Petropars, 19.9 percent.
South Pars is Iran’s section of the world’s biggest gas deposit, shared also with Qatar, and the Persian Gulf field lies at the center of a dispute embroiling Qatar and several Arab neighbors. Saudi Arabia severed commercial links with Qatar last month, accusing it of cozying up to Iran, a Saudi rival. The planned signing of the South Pars contract will coincide with a deadline for Qatar to comply with 13 demands from the Saudi-led coalition, including a cutback in relations with Iran. Qatar has rejected the ultimatum.