French, Chi­nese firms ink Iran gas deal

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Mon­day signed a $5 bil­lion agree­ment with France’s To­tal SA and a Chi­nese oil com­pany to de­velop Iran’s off­shore nat­u­ral gas field, the first such deal with for­eign com­pa­nies since the land­mark 2015 nu­clear deal with world pow­ers.

Of­fi­cials in Tehran signed the agree­ment, which will au­tho­rize the firms to de­velop a por­tion of the South Pars off­shore field that Iran shares with Qatar.

To­tal has a 50.1 per­cent share in the deal. The sta­te­owned China Na­tional Petroleum Corp. has 30 per­cent stake and Iran’s Petropars has 19.9 per­cent.

The deal in­cludes 30 wells and two pro­duc­tion units. Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Ira­nian Oil Min­is­ter Bi­jan Zan­ganeh con­grat­u­lated all in­volved in the deal, say­ing it will lead to “more than $5 bil­lion in for­eign in­vest­ments.”

Iran sits atop the world’s fourth-largest oil re­serves and the sec­ond-big­gest stores of nat­u­ral gas. Since the nu­clear deal, which saw Iran lim­it­ing its en­rich­ment of ura­nium in ex­change for eco­nomic sanc­tions be­ing lifted, the coun­try has quickly in­creased its crude oil pro­duc­tion and sold what it had in float­ing re­serves. Mon­day’s deal will fur­ther strengthen its cof­fers and se­cure a new sup­ply of nat­u­ral gas for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion, be­gin­ning in 2021.

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