France's Total SA (TOT) on Tuesday said it is planning to push forward with a $1 billion investment in a giant Iranian gas field, marking the first commitment by a Western company to put real money into the Islamic Republic's re-emerging energy industry.
The Paris-based oil giant has been at the forefront of Western energy companies looking to return to the oil-rich country since sanctions on its energy industry were lifted, despite ongoing U.S. restrictions on business dealings with the country.
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Total reached a preliminary agreement to invest $4.8 billion to develop the massive gas deposit alongside China National Petroleum Corp. late last year and has been working for months to finalize the project to develop South Pars, part of the world's largest gas field.
In May, Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told The Wall Street Journal he was "very optimistic" of reaching an agreement with the company "very soon."
The imminent investment decision by the French oil major was first reported by Reuters.
The deal would mark a step forward in the development of Iran's oil industry, as many companies have been cautious to return with uncertainty over U.S. sanctions still looming.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 20, 2017 08:09 ET (12:09 GMT)