Iran says it is discussing the development of a major gas project with French energy giant Total.
Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told the domestic media that discussions with Total are over the development of Phase 11 of South Pars gas field.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that it is still not clear whether the French company will win a deal over the project.
Kardo added that companies from China and Russia are also interested in Phase 11 that had been previously dedicated for production of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The official told IRNA that the fate of the project will be determined within the next few months. He also did not rule out the possibility that Total could be the leader of a consortium to develop Phase 11.
Iran had been originally negotiating with Total and Malaysia’s Petronas to produce LNG at the phase – what would have eventually become one of Iran’s three liquefaction projects - Pars LNG project.
Two other projects that the country was pursuing were Persian LNG and Iran LNG. The NIOC had been discussing the development of Persian LNG with Shell at Phase 13 of South Pars. Also, the development of Iran LNG was being discussed with major local oil company Petropars at Phase 12. None of the liquefaction projects progressed in what was seen as a result of US-led sanctions that banned investments by foreign enterprises in Iran’s oil sector projects – specifically its ambitious LNG schemes.
The NIOC accordingly said it had abandoned its liquefaction plans and instead was planning to develop the phases to support the domestic demand as well as gas export plans.
It is still not clear whether Phase 11 would again be dedicated for the development of Pars LNG in case talks with Total result in a final deal.