French, Chinese firms ink Iran gas deal
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.