DUBAI, July 29 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
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.
Iran has the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas,
but it has not yet become a major exporter because of
international sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme.
U.S. and UN sanctions have deterred investment by Western
firms with expertise and technology, and the Islamic Republic is
not able to obtain the technology it would need to build
liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati;Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)