Cognizant that US sanctions have scared off potential foreign investment, Iran has awarded domestic firm Petropars the rights to develop a key offshore gas field. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced on 14 December that Petropars has signed a contract with state-firm NIOC to develop the 21.7tcf Farzad B field. Indian firm ONGC Videsh had long been interested in developing the field (MEES, 6 January 2017), but the return of US sanctions last year halted negotiations.

Petropars is also the sole firm tasked with developing the 2bn cfd South Pars Phase 11 project following the withdrawal of France’s Total last year and China’s CNPC this year (MEES, 11 October). No timeframe for development was provided. It is a tall order for Petropars – a subsidiary of NIOC – to bring two such major projects to fruition by itself any time soon. Rather the announcement is likely a political decision to showcase Iran’s “resistance economy.” (CONTINUED - 149 WORDS)