Iran has signed a deal with French oil giant Total to develop its share of the world’s biggest natural gas field.It’s the first investment in the country by an international energy company since sanctions were eased last year.
The 20-year deal with National Iranian Oil Co. and China National Petroleum Corp. to develop phase 11 of the South Pars offshore gas field represents the “first of many” projects for Total in Iran,
The first phase of the project is expected to cost Total and its partners around two billion dollars.
“By signing this contract, a lot of the doubts with some foreign companies to invest and work in Iran will be resolved, and in fact, this will be the beginning of a return for those who want to invest in Iran, not only in Oil industry, but also in other fields not related to oil,” Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh – told reporters after the signing ceremony.
Patrick Pouyanné – Total CEO added: “Since the signature of the JCPOA ( Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) all European companies are allowed to work in Iran so we are committed to Iran and I hope that the international diplomacy will maintain our capacity to be here.”
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 arch-rival Iran. Qatar initially faced a Monday deadline to comply with 13 demands from a Saudi-led coalition, including a cutback in relations with Iran. The coalition agreed later to extend its deadline by two days.
Reporting for euronews in Tehran, Javad Montazeri assesses the significance of the deal.
“Oil is the motor to Iran’s economic development and signing this contract can be a harbinger of good days to come for this industry, which is newly freed from sanctions; It^s an industry which is, according to Iran’s Oil Minister, in need for 200 billion dollars of investment, 70 per cent of which it hopes will be provided through foreign sources, so that Iran can increase its daily oil and gas production to 6 million barrels.”