It’s a close call as to whether Trump’s sanctions will force Iran to the negotiating table, or if Iran will give Trump the middle finger and ride it out with help from its friends. Stay tuned. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
When it comes to the Middle East, China has not been shy about its recent ambitions to expand its geopolitical influence in the Gulf region: Just last week we reported that the Chinese Ambassador to Syria, Qi Qianjin, shocked Middle East pundits and observers by indicating the Chinese military may fill the void left in the wake of the collapse of ISIS – and most regional armies – and directly assist the Syrian Army in an upcoming major offensive on jihadist-held Idlib province.
The “[Chinese] military is willing to participate in some way alongside the Syrian army that is fighting the terrorists in Idlib and in any other part of Syria,” the ambassador said in an interview with the pro-government daily newspaper Al-Watan, subsequently translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
And having staked a military claim in Syria, China was next set to expand its national interest in that other key regional nation which has been the source of so much consternation to its neighbors and world powers in recent months and which has emerged as a key source of crude oil exports to Beijing: Iran.
It did so today when China’s state-owned energy giant, CNPC – the world’s third largest oil and gas company by revenue behind Saudi Aramco and the National Iranian Oil Company – finally took over the share in Iran’s multi-billion dollar South Pars gas project held by France’s Total, Iran’s official news agency Shana reported on Saturday.
To many the move had been expected, with only the details set to be ironed out. Recall that back in May we wrote that CNPC – the world’s third largest oil and gas company by revenue behind Saudi Aramco and the National Iranian Oil Company – was set to take over a leading role held by Total in a huge gas project in Iran should the French energy giant decide to quit amid US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
That finally happened when the Chinese energy giant took advantage of Trump’s sanctions to step in the void left by the French major. As a reminder, Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop Phase II of South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion, marking the first major Western energy investment in the country after sanctions were lifted in 2016. South Pars has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves ever found in one place.
To continue reading: Iran Sanctions Fallout: China Takes Over French Share In Giant Iran Gas Project