China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has signed an agreement with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to develop part of the South Pars gas field, AFP reported. According to NIOC Managing Director Seyfollah Jashnsaz, the deal to develop phase 11 of the upstream sector of the oil field is worth approximately US$4.7 billion. The aim of the project is to generate a daily output capacity of 50 million cubic meters of natural gas and other products. France’s Total and Petronas of Malaysia were initially chosen for the project in 2004, but they faced repeated delays in the initial phase, so CNPC was chosen instead. The delays came from rising project costs and international sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear power program, which many in the West see as a cover for nuclear weapons.