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Iran threatens to take South Pars field from CNPC

August 16/2011

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Iran has again warned CNPC Chinas state-backed upstream exploration and production company that if investment in phase 11 of the giant South Pars offshore gas field was not ramped up, the National Iranian Oil Company would take custody of the field.

"Ultimatums will certainly be given to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) if the delays in developing the phase 11 of South Pars continues," Ahmad Qalebani, Head of National Iranian Oil Co.(NIOC) was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Rostum Qasemi, recently appointed Oil Minister by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the Revolutionary Guards, said last week that the Guards engineering wing that he used to run, Khatam al-Anbia, should take over the running of the countrys hydrocarbons resources and no foreign contractors were needed.

According to a Reuters report, the Guards, Khatam al-Anbia and Qasemi himself are all under sanctions imposed by countries, including the United States and the European Union, that accuse them of involvement in helping Iran develop nuclear technology transferable to weapons, which Tehran denies.

The offshore South Pars field, the world's largest reservoir of gas, contains about half of the estimated 28 trillion cubic metres of the country's gas reserves.

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