Chinese state giant CNPC has followed partner Total in exiting Iran’s South Pars Phase 11 project according to multiple reports. US sanctions forced Total to exit the project, where it held a 50.1% stake, in August (MEES, 24 August), but Iran’s petroleum minister Bijan Zanganeh said last month that CNPC was taking Total’s stake (MEES, 30 November). CNPC’s withdrawal from the project, which is slated to provide 2bn cfd by 2021 is a major blow to Iran. If even Chinese state firms are unwilling to invest in the current climate then Iran’s hopes of securing foreign investment are doomed.