Iran, Total resume talks on Pars LNG
France's Total has expressed interest to invest in Iran's Pars LNG project, SHANA news agency reported on Saturday.
After several months of hiatus as a result of Total''s wavering, officials from the company have resumed talks with the National Iranian Gas Export Company in Tehran to rejoin the project.
The Pars LNG project has plans to develop production of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the South Pars field''s Phase 11 and process it into LNG through the construction of a two-train integrated liquefaction plant with a total LNG production capacity of 10 million tons per year.
Total agreed to take on the Pars LNG project in February 2004, with an initial start date of 2009 that has since been pushed back to 2011 after years of wrangling over terms.
Total was also supposed to carry out the development project of the phase 11th of the South Pars gas field but National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) signed a 5-billion-dollar contract in Beijing on June 3 for the development of the phase.
After signing the contract, National Iranian Oil Company's Managing Director Seyfollah Jashnsaz said that the deal came after much delay and waste of time by Total regarding the project.
Jashnsaz added that the French Total can continue its presence in the South Pars gas field project through cooperation with the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation.
"If Total is willing they can take part in the downstream sector of the South Pars phase 11 development project," Jashnsaz said.
Total had signed a memorandum of understanding with National Iranian Oil Company to develop phase 11, but the project was overshadowed by haggling over contract terms.
NIOC accused Total of delays and said it had given the Paris-based company a six-month ultimatum to finalize work before Tehran moved forward with another partner.
Eventually, NIOC and CNPC signed the 5-billion-dollar contract.
According to the contract, Total and Malaysian Petronas can return to the project and collaborate with the Chinese CNPC, if they express readiness.
South Pars is the world''s largest gas field, shared between Iran and Qatar. The Iranian part is divided into 24 phases. The field's recoverable gas reserve is equivalent to some 215 billion barrel of oil and it also holds about 16 billion barrels of recoverable condensate corresponding of about 230 billion barrel of oil equivalent recoverable hydrocarbons.
Iran has the world's second largest gas reserves, almost 16 percent of the world's total.