“Sanctions lead Iran to find new energy partners”

“Sanctions lead Iran to find new energy partners”
June 3-8, 2009
     The National Iranian Oil Company has replaced French energy firm Total with China National Petroleum Corporation on a $4.7 billion contract to develop part of Iran’s South Pars gas field. The NIOC cited delays in the project (Agence France-Presse) and claimed that Total, facing pressure due to international sanctions against Iran, requested to be replaced (United Press International). On the same day, French President Nicholas Sarkozy warned Iran of further international pressure should Iran refuse talks with the P5+1 (Forbes, Reuters). Total claimed to still be involved in developing South Pars but did not comment on the CNPC deal (Reuters (2)).
     Zahra Hosseinian and Fredrik Dahl report that international sanctions have prevented Iran from exploiting its gas reserves, which constitute almost 16% of the world’s total. While the NIOC stated that Total could still participate in other aspects of the South Pars project (Reuters (3)), Iran believes Asian firms, such as Indian and Chinese firms, may be less vulnerable to international pressure (Fars News Agency). Tamsin Carlisle also cites Iran’s rewarding of another gas contract to a domestic firm, apparently at the expense of Royal Dutch Shell, as a sign that Iran is moving away from Western partners to develop the South Pars field (The National). Malaysia’s Petronas, which was originally set to work with Total, has stated it will remain involved by partnering with the CNPC (Wall Street Journal).
     Reuters provides a roundup of Iran’s main energy partners and joint projects here.
Agence France-Presse | United Press International | Forbes | Reuters | Reuters (2) | Reuters (3) | Fars News Agency | The National | Wall Street Journal

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