By Kamila Aliyeva
A final agreement between Iran and French oil and gas company Total on the implementation of Phase 11 of the project to develop the South Pars gas field in southern Iran will be signed soon, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, IRNA reported.
This contract will be signed before the end of the current administration’s tenure, according to the minister.
Earlier, Deputy Oil Minister Ali Cardor reported that the 11th phase of South Pars is another priority plan of the Oil Ministry and the signing of a final agreement on its development is expected in the coming months.
In November 2016, French oil major Total signed a preliminary agreement to help develop the massive field (South Pars Phase 11 (SP11)), becoming the first Western energy investment in Iran since international sanctions were lifted following the JCPOA. The overall cost of the project is estimated to reach $4.8 billion.
The company was also involved in the development of Phases 2 and 3 of the project in 2000.
If finalized, Total would operate the project with a 50.1 percent stake, China's CNPC would own 30 percent through one of its subsidiaries and Iran's Petropars would have 19.9 percent.
Iran plans to increase the gas production level at South Pars, the world's largest gas field, to 530 mcm/d by March 2017, while total gas output of the country is planned to reach about 830 mcm/d.
South Pars covers an area of nearly 9,700 square kilometers, with 3,700 square kilometers falling to a share of Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers are situated in Qatar’s territorial waters.
South Pars, divided into 29 development phases, holds 40 tcm of natural gas, or 21 percent of world’s total gas reserves, and 50 billion barrels of condensate.
In July 2015, Iran and global powers reached what has been described as a nuke deal, where Iran agreed it would scale down its nuclear program, in return for the crippling economic sanctions being eased and eventually lifted against the oil and gas rich Islamic Republic.
After lifting the sanctions, Iran got new possibilities and access to foreign resources which were inaccessible due to the sanctions.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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