Iranian judiciary, oil ministry form committee to review gas deal with Total

Tasnim – A member of the Iranian parliament’s Energy Commission said the country’s Oil Ministry and the Judiciary have established a joint committee to review a controversial $5 billion gas deal recently signed with France’s energy giant Total.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Mohammad Khaledi said the joint committee is examining the contract with Total from a legal perspective.

He said the results of the committee’s assessments would be announced in a report due to be issued in coming days.

The lawmaker went on to say that a copy of the report on the legal review of the deal with Total would be submitted to the parliament.

The formation of the committee came as some parliamentarians, experts and top figures in oil and gas industry have voiced their strong opposition to the gas deal, saying Total has hatched “a sinister plot” against the Islamic Republic.

Total and China’s National Petroleum Company (CNPC) struck the $5 billion agreement with Iran earlier on July 3.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Tehran attended by Zangeneh, Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne and senior officials from China’s CNPC and Iran’s Petropars.

Total holds a 50.1 interest in the South Pars project with state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation owning 30 percent and Petropars 19.9 percent.

The development of Phase 11 of the South Pars project will cost up to $5 billion.

The vast offshore gas field is shared between Iran and Qatar, where Total is also a major player in gas production as well as in oil and refining. Tehran calls the giant field South Pars while Doha calls it the North Field.