Yet another reason why 'sanctions' against Iran will never work
On Wednesday, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a Chinese state company, signed a $4.7 billion contract
to help Iran develop a major gas field in the Persian Gulf. CNPC is replacing France's Total Oil, which had started to get queasy about the project, and which had been accused by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Iran's state oil company, of causing delays in the project.
With Western firms wary of investing in the Islamic state due to its nuclear row with the United States, Tehran has increasingly been looking towards energy-hungry Asian countries for investment to help exploit its vast gas and oil reserves.
Despite the global economic slowdown, China is keen to ensure energy does not constrain future growth and force up the prices it pays.
Iran announced the deal with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on developing phase 11 of South Pars on the same day as its foreign minister was to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris to discuss Tehran’s nuclear activity.
It was signed in Beijing by Seifollah Jashnsaz, managing director of the state National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and his CNPC counterpart, the official Irna news agency said.
“The signing of the cooperation agreement between Iran and China took place as CNPC has replaced the French company of Total,” Irna said.
Jashnsaz said the aim was to reach daily production of 50 million cubic metres of natural gas and other products.
Total had no immediate comment on the report. In Beijing, CNPC officials were not immediately available for comment.
South Pars, the world’s largest reservoir of gas, is shared by Iran and Qatar. The Iranian part is divided into 24 phases.
Total has a memorandum of understanding with NIOC to develop Phase 11 of South Pars but the project has been overshadowed by haggling over contract terms.
Even if there was enough time, sanctions against Iran would not work. They are not regarded as a pariah state by many other states. Anyone who thinks sanctions are going to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons needs to get off drugs.