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Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh

Iran has kicked out CNPC from the Azadegan oil field project due to “lack of commitment”, the oil ministry reported Tuesday.

The order came directly from Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh.

Managing director of National Iranian Oil Company, Rokneddin Javadi, said “Following repeated verbal and written warnings and a written warning issued last winter, CNPC promised to move the project forward. Even though one month extra was given to this company after the 90-day ultimatum, no effective work has been done by this contractor. Therefore, since this Chinese contractor did not fulfill its commitments during this period, the order to end the company’s contract in the development of South Azadegan will be issued.”

Javadi also said the oil ministry did not intend to “weaken or expel” contractors, but it did expect them to follow by project timetables.

CNPC signed the $2.5 billion deal with Iran in October 2009 to develop the South Azadegan field. Development was to take place under a two-phase plan with a target of 600,000 bpd of crude oil production.