BLOOMBERG/BILLY H.C. KWOK
Iran’s Oil Minister said that China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is no longer a partner in the country’s biggest natural gas project and Iran will develop Phase 11 of the giant South Pars field on its own, according to local newswire, SHANA.
CNPC was the only international partner left in the project after Total of France withdrew last year when US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear accord and reimpose sanctions on Iran.
Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Iran’s Oil Minister, said, “The fate of the South Pars Phase 11 has been determined and Petropars will continue developing the project alone and by the end of year (20 March 2020), the first jacket will be installed in the phase for a platform with 500 mcf/d of gas production capacity.”
Phase 11 was the biggest infrastructure development project with major foreign participants that Iran arranged after the accord took effect.
The Iranian newswire said that the Chinese company was ‘dismissed’ from the project, without giving details.
Iran’s Petropars will take over CNPC’s stake and be sole participant in Phase 11, said Zanganeh. Total, which initially held a 50.1 stake, pulled out in August 2018. CNPC had a 30 per cent stake in the project, while Petropars held a 19.9 per cent.
International energy companies have been reluctant to work in Iran since the US reimposed curbs on the country, due to their concerns that Washington might blacklist them. China remains one of the biggest buyers of Iran crude oil, in spite of US sanctions.