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'Effective Talks' with Total on Investment in Iran's Petchem Industry

'Effective Talks' with Total on Investment in Iran's Petchem Industry”

Iran's oil officials were keen to attract Western investment and know-how to improve the outdated energy infrastructure.

The state-owned China National Petroleum has a 30% stake, while Iran's Petropars has 19.9%.

Iran΄s oil ministry confirmed at the weekend the signing of a multi-billion-dollar agreement with French energy giant Total and Chinese company CNPC after a multi-year delay.

CNPC has been present in Iran since 2004, operating in oil, gas and oil field services, according to the company's website. Working with Iran's Petropars, the companies will further develop the country's giant South Pars gas field. "The produced gas will supply the Iranian domestic market starting in 2021", the press release read. The site will eventually pump 50.9 million cubic meters (1.8 billion cubic feet) of gas per day into Iran΄s national grid.

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Total is extremely familiar with the slice of South Pars that it will work on, having scoped it out before sanctions made work in Iran impossible for big worldwide companies.

At Monday's signing ceremony, Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Total's CEO Patrick Pouyanne and Lv Gongxun, representatives of the CNPC were present.

The contract has a 20-year duration, extendable by another five years. The first phase, with an estimated cost of around $2 billion equivalent, will consist of 30 wells and two wellhead platforms connected to existing onshore treatment facilities by two subsea pipelines. Austrian energy company OMV in late January hosted representatives from Iran's Dana Energy Co., a player in exploration and development, to sign of new arrangements for potential work.

"We are proud and honored to be the first worldwide company to sign an IPC, which offers an attractive commercial framework, following the 2015 global nuclear accord (JCPOA) and to therefore contribute to the development of relations between Europe and Iran", Pouyanné said.

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The 20-year contract also offers a vote of confidence for Iran in the business world, especially as U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to try and renegotiate the nuclear accord.

European majors are warming to Iran in the post-sanctions environment.

"The people said firmly that our oil policies should continue", he said. "The main obstacle is being created by the US government".

He added: "Hopes are high in Iran that the IPC will enhance local companies' capabilities".

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