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"At least seven companies from China, India, South Korea and South Africa continued to have investments in Iran's oil and gas sectors in 2012 even as Tehran came under international scrutiny for its nuclear ambitions, a U.S. government watchdog said on Friday . . . The United States requires buyers of Iranian oil to make significant cuts to their oil purchases, or risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system. Most of the companies still involved in Iran's energy sector are from countries that on Friday received six-month waivers called 'exceptions' to the sanctions because they have reduced oil trade. Chinese activity included Sinopec's 51 percent stake in Iran's Yadavaran oil field, and China National Petroleum Corp's interest in a project to develop the Azadegan field, the GAO said." (Reuters, "Some foreign firms still active in Iran's energy sector: U.S. report," 12/7/12)
"This has left China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) as the largest foreign oil company in the Middle Eastern country. CNPC, China’s largest oil and gas producer, has four projects in Iran, namely the Masjed-i-Suleiman oil project, the North and South Azadegan oil fields, and phase 11 of the South Pars offshore gas field. In August, Iranian media reported that CNPC was withdrawing from the South Pars project. Caixin has also learned that CNPC has reduced the number of Chinese personnel working on the other three projects since the beginning of the year. CNPC is maintaining investment for projects that it thinks will produce soon and slowing investment in the projects that will take longer to put into operation, a source who studies Chinese oil firms’ overseas investments said... CNPC’s president, Zhou Jiping, was part of the delegation. He met with Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qassemi, and senior executives of state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) Iran agreed that the CNPC would withdraw from the South Pars project and Tehran would offer another oil or gas block as a swap, a source close to CNPC said. And some provisions in contracts signed by CNPC and NIOC would be revised by Iran. The main reasons CNPC backed out of the South Pars deal were contract clauses it felt were harsh and a schedule it felt it could not meet. CNPC feared losing big if it invested the full amount the contract called for... But CNPC was concerned that the slow approvals process of the Iranian government meant it could not meet deadlines. Another problem, from CNPC’s perspective, was that equipment for the offshore South Pars project needed to be bought from the United States or European countries. But sanctions meant that critical equipment, such as natural gas compressors, could not be shipped to Iran... CNPC was quick to take their place. In 2009, it got the rights to three projects in Iran, laying the foundation for it to become the largest foreign oil firm in the nation... Despite these obstacles, Iran is still attractive to Chinese oil companies. CNPC can still turn a profit from its business in Iran, a source who once did business in Iran said. The return on investment for CNPC’s projects in the country would be about 14% based on CNPC’s estimation... A large and productive CNPC oil block in an area now spanning parts of Sudan and South Sudan had to be split in two due to the political upheaval there. CNPC said that facilities in the northern part were severely damaged in the conflict... When investing in Iran, CNPC also needed to consider broader regional implications. Part of this he said, was remembering that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. CNPC will not abandon Iran, a source at the company said, partly because CNPC’s annual output from its oil fields abroad was 50 million tons by the end of 2010 and it wanted to reach its target of 100 million tons by 2015. CNPC also considers Iraq central to its Middle East ambitions. It lists three oil fields in the country now free of U.S. military activity as key to its efforts in the region." (MarketWatch, "China’s CNPC performs balancing act in Iran," 9/26/2012)
"China's national petroleum company has pulled out of developing Phase 11 of Iran's offshore South Pars gas field, Iranian media reported on Sunday, blaming the firm for constant and "unprecedented" delays in the project. Tehran signed a $4.7 billion contract with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in 2009 to help develop Phase 11 of South Pars, replacing France's Total SA, which it had also accused of delays. Citing information from Iran's Oil Ministry, Mehr News Agency said CNPC had pulled out its workers from Asaluyeh, the city on the shore of the Mideast Gulf close to the South Pars gas field. The report said CNPC had delayed the project for more than 1,130 days and had not even begun preliminary steps such as leveling land and putting up fencing. Iran's National Iranian Oil Company warned CNPC last year that it would 'replace CNPC with domestic companies' if the Chinese corporation continued to delay the project." (Reuters, "China pulls out of South Pars project: report," 7/29/12)
"Iranian energy companies could develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field, a senior Iranian official said on Thursday, if a Chinese contractor does not meet Iran's ultimatum to move ahead with the project in the next 30 days. State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) was given a month's deadline by Iranian Oil minister Rostam Ghasemi last week to make a serious start on the project after 32 months of delay." (Reuters, "Iran firms set for South Pars if China fails-ISNA," 4/26/12)
"China's biggest oil company is pressing ahead with oil-and-gas projects in Iran valued at billions of dollars, its top executive said, highlighting Beijing's strong economic ties to Tehran even as China has signed onto a U.S.-led sanctions effort against Iran.
The longstanding initiatives by China National Petroleum Corp., running in tandem with a $60 billion global investment plan over the next decade, wouldn't violate the United Nations Security Council draft resolution devised by the U.S. to punish Iran for its nuclear program. China, along with Russia, agreed to that draft after concessions from Washington that protect energy and financial ties to Iran.
Still, the statement by Jiang Jiemin, president of state-owned China National Petroleum, on Thursday—just two days after the sanctions resolution was announced—illustrates the continued complexity of Beijing's relationship with Iran, one of the biggest suppliers of crude oil for China's fast-growing economy. 'We will implement our projects in Iran as usual, and we don't have plans to speed up,' Mr. Jiang told a news conference at the annual general meeting of PetroChina Co., China National Petroleum's Hong Kong- and New York-listed subsidiary...
China National Petroleum's $60 billion international push is aimed at increasing its overseas oil production to four million barrels a day, from 284,000 now. The effort is being spearheaded by PetroChina, which is the world's second-most-valuable oil company after Exxon Mobil Corp. China National Petroleum has been selling assets to PetroChina that aren't already part of the listed unit, but it keeps assets in politically sensitive countries like Iran and Sudan out of PetroChina to avoid backlash from international shareholders.
China National Petroleum is in various phases of developing three fields in Iran, including work on one of the world's biggest natural-gas fields, and on enhancing recovery from a small, older oil field. Mr. Jiang said he expected production from the older field to hit around 20,000 barrels a day later this year. "Regarding our projects that have been started, we will continue to do so," he said.
Iran was China's third-biggest supplier of oil last year after Saudi Arabia and Angola. China's other big state-owned oil companies, China National Offshore Oil Co. and China National Petrochemical Corp., also have projects in Iran, as do oil companies from more than three dozen other countries including the U.K., France and Japan." (The Wall Street Journal. "China Plans to Keep Iran Oil Projects Moving Ahead," 5/20/10)
"But while others back out, Chinaoil has sold a total of about 600,000 barrels worth around $55 million to the Islamic Republic. The cargoes were Chinaoil's first direct sales to Iran since at least January 2009, according to Reuters data. Chinese firms have previously sold through intermediaries, traders said. 'Prior to this there was some third-party trades going on, but this was a direct sell,' a trader said. Chinaoil is the trading unit for China's top energy group China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), which is the parent of U.S. and Hong Kong-listed PetroChina (0857.HK) (PTR.N). A CNPC spokesman was unable to comment on the sales." (Reuters, "Exclusive: China's top oil firms sell gasoline to Iran-trade," 4/14/10)
Last year’s foreign buying spree was not the first for the likes of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and China Petrochemicals Corporation (Sinopec), but previously the Chinese firms had mostly purchased assets in Africa and Central Asia, which typically produce oil similar to China’s own crude... All three of China’s biggest state-controlled oil companies have clinched deals with Tehran to develop some of Iran’s biggest oil and gasfields. Last year’s crop included agreements for CNPC to develop phase 11 of the massive South Pars gasfield to develop three oilfields. (The National, "China's global quest for oil," 1/9/10)
"In June , the official Iranian news agency IRNA said Tehran had signed a $4.7 billion contract with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to help develop phase 11 of South Pars, replacing Total which it had accused of delays." (Reuters, "Iran sees possible Total deal worth $7.5-8 bln," 10/12/09)
INVESTMENT -- China's National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a $4.7 billion contract with a Chinese state firm in June to develop a phase of South Pars, replacing France's Total.
* CNPC signed a memorandum of understanding for development of the South Azadegan field earlier this year. Under that deal, it would pay 90 percent of the costs of a $2.5 billion project.
* CNPC is in talks with Iran for $3.6 billion deal to buy LNG from Phase 14 of South Pars project. CNPC is also in talks to explore and develop energy reserves in Iran's Caspian.
* CNPC signed a deal with the NIOC in January to develop the north Azadegan oilfield. The deal is worth $2 billion in its first phase. Under the first phase lasting 48 months, the capacity would reach 75,000 barrels per day (bpd). The tenure of the project is 12 years. (Reuters, "FACTBOX: Iran's major oil customers, energy partners," 8/19/09)
"But Greg Priddy, an oil analyst at the Eurasia Group consultancy, said Chinese companies did not have the same expertise as more established European operators. 'Iran was already looking to companies like Sinopec and CNPC, which are doing onshore work which is technologically much easier,' Mr Priddy said, but he added that those companies would not be able to do the more difficult offshore development needed for South Pars." (Financial Times, "Turmoil turns Iran's energy sector to Beijing," 7/11/09)
"Iran and China on Wednesday signed a 1.76 billion dollar contract for the initial development of the North Azadegan oil field in western Iran,' an Iranian oil ministry official said. 'The agreement between China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) foresees production from the field reaching 75,000 barrels a day in four years time,' the official said. 'If that timetable is maintained, Iran may award CNPC the contract for the second phase, when production is scheduled to double.'" (Agence France Presse, "Iran and China sign oilfield development contract," 1/14/09)
"State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is negotiating the acquisition of a 25% stake in the Pars LNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project with the Iranian government. Under the terms of the deal French major Total would see its stake in Pars LNG reduced from 40% to 25%." (Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Insights, "CNPC Looking At Pars LNG Deal," 10/1/08)
"CNPC has been present in Iran since 2004 and is engaged in oil and gas operation and oilfield services in the country."
"CNPC operates two oil and gas projects in Iran―MIS Oil Field and Block 3. CNPC currently has a 75% holding in the MIS project."
"In 2007, we also signed strategic cooperation agreements with Iran." (Company website)
CNPC remains one of two foreign oil company still invested in developing Iran's South Pars gas field, a venture from which numerous other foreign oil giants including Royal Dutch Shell and Total have pulled out (Financial Times).
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