News ID: 197171
Published: 0241 GMT July 23, 2017

Iran to sign petrochemical contracts with Total, Shell

Iran to sign petrochemical contracts with Total, Shell

Iran is preparing contracts with French Total and Royal Dutch Shell to implement petrochemical projects, Marzieh Shahdaei, the head of Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC) told IRNA.

She added that the parties are negotiating the final issues for the contracts.

Both Total and Shell signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Iran in the petrochemical sector in 2016.

Shahdaei said that the contract with Total will be worth $2 billion while Iran's deal with Shell is estimated at $6 billion.

Iran plans to attract investment to the tune of $10 billion in the petrochemical sector in the year to March 20, 2018. Iran's petrochemical output is expected to double by 2021 to reach 120 million tons per year.

Total and Iran earlier signed a 20-year contract valued at $4.8 billion to develop Phase 11 of South Pars Gas Fields.

Last week, Deputy Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for Engineering and Development Affairs Gholamreza Manouchehri said that the interest rate of Total-lead consortium's investment is 2.5 percent, while the figure offered by National Development Fund is 7-8 percent.

"In total, about $1 billion would be paid as tax to the Iranian government, based on the agreement," he said adding that investment return for the deal is 10 years starting after the inauguration of the first stage.

The first and second stages of the project would become operational in 40 months and 60 months respectively.

The project's first stage will cost $2.479 billion, said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on July 12, adding that the project will include the drilling of 30 wells, construction of two 1,500-ton platforms, as well as laying a 250-km underwater pipeline.

The second stage involves the construction of a 20,000-ton platform and its installation at Phase 11 to prevent a decline in gas output level after the drop in reservoir pressure in 2023.

He said that the period of investment return of the second stage would also be 10 years after the commissioning of heavy platform (in 2023-33).

According to the $4.8-billion deal, some 335 bcm of methane, 290 mbd of gas condensate, 26 million tons of ethane, propane and butane, as well as 2 million tons of sulfur are expected to be produced from Phase 11, totaling $84 billion based on $50 per barrel of oil, of which 15 percent or $12 billion is expected to be paid to the consortium in 20 years.

Total has a 51-percent share in the project, while China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and local Petropars Ltd. own 30 percent and 19.9 percent, respectively.

Manouchehri said that Total should invest $500 million in two years and in case it withdraws from the project due to possible sanctions or other problems, Iran will only pay the principal gradually after the project becomes operational without taking into account any interest or profits.

On July 3, Total's Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said after the signing of the South Pars deal that it would open the door for more business with Tehran.

South Pars is part of the world's largest gas field which is shared with neighboring Qatar.

Total is active in both Iran and Qatar as well as the UAE.

Total's CEO told Reuters last month the petrochemical plants project in Iran was less advanced than South Pars Phase 11 because Total would need to fund that project with loans from banks while South Pars could be developed with its own funds.

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamani-Nia said in early July that Iran and Total have held 'positive talks' to cooperate in petrochemicals but added that the deal was not final.

An oil industry official said in January that Iran plans to build 25 petrochemical plants and is currently seeking $32 billion in foreign investment to fund projects.

In a meeting with Pouyanne in Tehran on July 3, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said a multibillion-dollar gas deal signed between Iran and French energy giant, Total, will facilitate the 'transfer of technological, scientific and managerial experience' between Iran and France.

President Rouhani said France holds a prominent position in the fields of economy and energy technology.

"Signing and implementing this contract will be a positive step toward further expansion of economic and technological cooperation between the two countries," the Iranian president added.

He noted that his administration sought to sign the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the P5+1 to lay the ground for enhancing Iran's economic cooperation with giant companies.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China — plus Germany signed the agreement in July 2015 and started implementing it in January 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to modify its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

"Fortunately, the political will [both] on the Iranian side and among the P5+1 countries led to the agreement with Total," Rouhani said.

The Iranian president further stated that major foreign companies can invest in projects in Iran's oil and gas sectors valued at around $200 billion.

Pouyanne stressed the importance of implementing the deal and hoped that it would pave the ground for further cooperation among Iran and other European companies.

He called for bolstering cooperation between Iranian and European companies in various sectors, adding that Total had decided to boost long-term cooperation with Iran in the gas, oil and petrochemical sectors.

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