Reuters: Iran hopes to finalise a deal with China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) by the end of March to develop the country’s northern Pars gas field, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Saturday. TEHRAN, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Iran hopes to finalise a deal with China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) by the end of March to develop the country’s northern Pars gas field, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Saturday.
“It seems that they are determined to sign a contract. We have the readiness as well. We hope that the contract will be finalised before the end of the year,” Nozari told a news conference, referring to the Iranian year which ends on March 20.
Nozari did not say how much the deal, first announced in late 2006, was worth but previous reports had valued it at $20 billion. Iran plans to export the northern Pars production in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
CNOOC, which leads China’s fledgling LNG industry, is the parent of Hong Kong and New York-listed CNOOC Ltd.
Officials had said before that the northern Pars field contains 80 trillion cubic feet of gas and can produce 431 million cubic feet per day.
China’s Sinopec Group, parent of Sinopec Corp., signed a deal in December to develop Iran’s huge Yadavaran oil field.
The United States, which is leading international efforts to isolate Tehran over its atomic activities, has sought to discourage international companies from investing in one of the world’s largest oil exporters.
But fast-growing China has in recent years expanded commercial ties with the Islamic Republic and has been reluctant to impose tough economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran is China’s third largest supplier of oil.
Iran has the world’s second-biggest crude reserves after Saudi Arabia and the second-largest gas reserves behind Russia. Although a major oil exporter, the OPEC member has been slow to expand gas exports and has no LNG plants. (Editing by editing by David Stamp)