China replaces France in Iran gas project

November 27, 2018 - 9:28

TEHRAN _ In what is likely to give a significant boost to Iran-China trade, China's state-owned CNPC has replaced France's Total in Iran's multibillion-dollar South Pars gas project, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced.

“China's CNPC has officially replaced Total in phase 11 of South Pars but it has not started work practically. Talks need to be held with CNPC ... about when it will start operations,” Zanganeh was quoted in media, without divulging further details.

Total had a 50.1 per cent stake in the project.  The French company said in August it would likely withdraw from the gas project after it failed to obtain a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In May, industry sources said CNPC was ready to take over Total's stake in the project.

The offshore field, which Iran calls South Pars and Qatar calls North Field, holds the world's largest natural gas reserves ever found in one place.

CNPC already holds a 30 per cent stake in the giant field, while National Iranian Oil Company subsidiary PetroPars holds the remaining 19.9 per cent.

China is one of the countries that has got waiver from the U.S. sanctions and experts believe China will use the opportunity to scale up its trade with Iran, including the import of gas and oil. China, India and Turkey are Iran’s top oil customers and all of them have got waivers.