Iranian companies force out Total in South Pars Phase 11

September 14, 2015

TEHRAN – The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) transferred the yet-to-be completed portions of Phase 11 of South Pars to Iranian firms, practically forcing out the likely cooperation of the giant French Total in the project, the Mehr News Agency reported on Monday.

Concurrent with the signing of the nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers, there was news saying that Phase 11 of South Pars, the only one remained, would be transferred to Total. What made the news more believable was when the contract between NIOC and Petropars was announced nullified during the first months of the current Iranian administration.
Rightly at the same time that Iranian authorities were not unanimous about which company to take over the development plan of Phase 11, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was holding talks with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in his July trip to Iran.
In the meeting Fabius acclaimed 20-year presence of Total in oil projects of Iran and expressed hope that the trip would pave the way for the presence of the French oil company in the development of Iran’s oil projects, something which Bijan Namdar Zanganeh highlighted, too, for his part.
However, one month since the two sides left the formal negotiations, NIOC announced formally on Monday that the remained sections of Phase 11 will be transferred to two Iranian companies, confirming that the French Total stands no cooperation chance in the project.
“Negotiation over transferring the drilling operation of Phase 11 of South Pars to Petropars and another Iranian company has reached its final stages”, the Mehr News Agency quoted Ali Akbar Shabanpour, the managing director of the Pars Oil and Gas Company, as saying on Monday.
This is not the first time the contract to develop Phase 11 of gigantic South Pars is signed. In 2009, it was awarded to general contractor Petropars in a move that officially annulled Iran's deal with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).
Shortly after, NIOC contract with Petropars was announced nullified during the first months of the current Iranian administration, just to be transferred to the same company and another Iranian one based on the recent contract finalized.
Phase 11 will produce 56 million cubic meters of natural gas, 80,000 barrels of gas condensates and 400 mt of sulfur on a daily basis.
AK/