France’s Total and Chinese state firm CNPC this week signed up to a 20-year deal for developing the 2bn cfd Phase 11 of the South Pars gas field. Total has a 50.1% stake and CNPC 30%, with local firm Petropars – a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) – holding the remaining 19.9%.

As the first deal with a foreign firm under the IPC it is a highly symbolic marker that the sanctions era is over. Certainly, it is important for Iran that Total, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is willing to take on the geopolitical risks involved in working in Iran. Although the new US administration opted to renew sanctions waivers in May, its more hawkish stance on Iran has concerned potential investors. (CONTINUED - 1047 WORDS)