Iran's state-run North Drilling Company (NDC) has signed a $143 million contract with CPTDC, a unit of China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), for buying an oil rig and plans to order two more for use in the Persian Gulf, the NDC managing director announced here on Saturday.
"Based on the contract, the CNPC subsidiary will be delivering a drilling rig to the North Drilling Company within the next 8 months to be used in the Persian Gulf''s oil and gas fields," IRNA news agency quoted Hedayatollah Khademi as saying. He said his company was planning to place orders for two additional oil drilling rigs with the Chinese company.
China, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, is a major buyer of Iranian crude and has long resisted Western calls for tougher sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. China views Iran as a crucial partner in helping to achieve energy independence. China is investing in massive joint exploration, extraction and refining projects in Iran. Beijing is seen as unwilling to turn its back on opportunities to develop China's own refining and extraction capabilities. Iran's natural resources, large population, and strategic position are all important to China. China imports about 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran. Chinese companies are partners of Iran's National Iranian Oil Company in the first and second phases of the development of Yadavaran, the giant Iranian oil field, which contains 17 billion barrels of oil. China is investing up to $70 billion in the project. China has also signed another agreement to develop a medium-size oil field, the North Azadegan, which is north of the giant Azadegan oil field with $34 billion barrels of oil. China National Petroleum Company signed an agreement in 2009 with Iran to replace the French company, Total, and participate in the Phase 11 of the development of the giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf, which contains 8% of world's total natural gas reserves.
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