Beijing, Oct 7: A Chinese state-run oil firm withdrew from a USD 5 billion agreement to develop a section of Iran’s natural gas field, Tehran’s oil ministry reported on Sunday. This is the same the deal from which French state Total SA earlier pulled out of amid US sanctions.
The South Pars field deal seems to be the latest business victim of the United States’ pressure campaign on the Islamic Republic, following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 International Iranian nuclear deal with world powers aimed at curbing nuclear programme in exchange of sanctions relief.
Iran’s ministry SHANA news agency has on Sunday quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh as saying the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) was “no longer in the project”n but did not offer elaborated information.
However, CNPC ignored several phone calls made to them in regards to the development and Beijing also didn’t immediately acknowledge their decisions.
“We have been facing plenty of problems in the field of investment because of the US maximum pressure policy,” Zarif told a parliamentary committee, as per the semi-official Tasnim news agency. “We are trying to remove the problems,” he added.
Iran holds the world’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas and the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves.
The massive South Pars field deal produces most of the natural gas, which it shares with Qatar. Under the initial terms of the arrangement, France’s Total was to have a 50.1 % stake, with China’s CNPC getting 30 % and Iran’s Petropars organization having a 19.9 % stake.
With Total’s withdrawal of the pact, China’s firm CNPC had taken over all France’s stake, but now Petropars will develop the section alone, Zangeneh said.