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Iran, Frances Total Sign Deal to Develop South Pars Phase 11

TEHRAN (NIOC) _ Irans National Oil Company signed a multi-billion-dollar agreement with French energy giant Total on Monday to develop the phase 11 of South Pars gas field, the first and the biggest deal in POST-JCPOAand since the sanctions were eased last year.

The international agreement was signed in the presence of the oil ministry and managers of all three parties of the consortium of Total, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Iranian firm Petropars.

Total signed a preliminary deal with Iran in November, taking a 50.1 percent stake in the $4.8 billion (4.2 billion euro) project.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will own 30 percent and Petropars 19.9 percent.Total will put in an initial $1 billion for the first stage of the 20-year project.

The contract was initially due to be signed in early 2017, but CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in February that Total would wait to see whether the US administration reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Coming back to Iran

The agreement signing was marked Total's return to Iran, which has the second-largest gas reserves and fourth-largest oil reserves in the world.

The French firm led development of phases two and three of South Pars in the 1990s and had signed up to develop phase 11 back in 2009.

But it was forced to abandon its projects in Iran in 2012 when France joined European Union partners in imposing sanctions, including an oil embargo, over the country's nuclear programme.

Iran's oil officials have been keen to attract Western investment and know-how to improve the country's outdated energy infrastructure.

Iran has also signed preliminary agreements with Shell and Russia's Gazprom to develop oil and gas projects.

The first stage of the new 20-year project at South Pars will cost around $2 billion and consist of 30 wells and two well-head platforms connected to existing onshore treatment facilities.

The site will eventually pump 50.9 million cubic metres (1.8 billion cubic feet) of gas per day into Iran's national grid.

Source: National Iranian Oil Company

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