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China's CNPC to Acquire Majority Stake in Promising South Pars Iranian Gas Project

Horizon of Persian Gulf in South Pars area (Alireza824 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Seeing no viable way to continue its operations in Iran without being severely penalized by US President Donald Trump's renewed sanctions, French oil giant Total has opted to sell its stake in Iran's South Pars Gas Development to China's state-owned energy company CNPC and head home.

Total, no stranger to Iran's energy resources, had formed an international consortium in Iran that included CNPC and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), among others, to develop the giant South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. The company had made an initial investment of $1 billion for its 50.1 percent stake. Now China will be replacing Total with an enlarged 80.1 percent stake in Phase II of the multibillion dollar South Pars project.

The renewed U.S. sanctions were among those lifted under a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in May. Washington is planning to impose heavier sanctions in November aimed at Iran’s oil sector.

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