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Iran signs giant oil deal with China

Press TV - Tehran has replaced France's Total with a Chinese company to develop phase 11 of Iran's South Pars gas field.

An Iranian delegation headed by managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Seyfollah Jashnsaz, which is on a visit to Beijing, has finalized the deal with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) today, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

Jashnsaz added that the value of the deal was USD 4.7 billion, IRNA said.

Iran says it is replacing Total because the French company has wasted too much time on the project.

Reuters quoted a Total spokeswoman as saying that the French company considered the report as a 'market rumor'.

CNPC is already a major partner in Iran's energy projects. Iran signed a USD 1.7 billon deal with CNPC in January for the development of Iran's North Azadegan oil field which is estimated to have six billion barrels of oil in reserves.

Jashnsaz said in March that Iran had found a new partner to replace Total in South Pars phase 11. He did not name the new partner nor did he say whether Total was completely pulling out of the project.

Total was officially commissioned to develop Phase 11 of South Pars. However, it has been under pressure from Washington to abandon its cooperation in Iran's energy projects.

Total Chief Christophe de Margerie had said that talks with Iran on developing the South Pars were advancing slowly due to the US pressure.

The South Pars gas field has reserves of about 14 trillion cubic meters of gas -- or about eight percent of the world's reserves.

... Payvand News - 06/03/09 ... --

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