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China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)




Date: 2004 - Ongoing

Deal: An industry trade publication reported that in 2004, the National Iranian Oil Company granted a service contract to the China National Petroleum Corporation to develop the Masjed-i-Suleiman oil field. In March 2007, CNPC renegotiated the deal and increased its investment in the project (APS Review Oil Market Trends, April 13, 2009). According to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), CNPC began drilling in the oil field in 2007, and maintains a 75 percent share of the project (GAO Report, March 23, 2010).

Date: May 2005 – January 2012

Deal: According to the GAO, in May 2005 the CNPC signed an $18 million deal to explore and develop the Kuhdasht Block in Iran (GAO Report, December 2007). The Kuhdasht Block site is also known as Block 3 in Iran's Zagros Basin. CNPC reported on its website that the project was formally launched in June 2005. In 2007, its first exploration well provided 1,250 barrels in its daily testing (CNPC Website, accessed April 27, 2010).

According to the Tehran Times, CNPC left the project in January 2012 after announcing that developing the oilfield would not be economically justified (Tehran Times, January 16, 2012).

Date: January 2009 - Ongoing

Deal: Voice of America reported that in January 2009, CNPC and NIOC signed a nearly $2 billion deal to develop the North Azadegan oil field (Voice of America, January 15, 2009). According to the Los Angeles Times, the field is expected to produce 75,000 barrels per day by 2012 (Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2009). China Daily stated that the project is set to take place in two phases spanning 30 years, and that by its end, it could produce up to 150,000 barrels per day (China Daily, January 16, 2009). Reuters reported that pending NIOC's approval, drilling is set to begin in 2010 (Reuters, June 9, 2009).

According to The Wall Street Journal, in May 2014, CNPC will continue its North Azadegan oil field project despite losing its contract on the neighboring South Azadegan field (The Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2014).

Date: June 2009 – Ongoing

Deal: In June 2009, Upstream Online reported that CNPC had replaced France's Total in a contract to develop South Pars phase 11 (Upstream Online, June 3, 2009). According to the GAO, CNPC has a 12.5 percent share of the project, valued at over $13 billion (GAO Report, March 23, 2010). The deal was finalized in February 2010, according to Upstream Online (Upstream Online, February 10, 2010).

According to Dow Jones, CNPC is researching the project and it will be some time before exploration begins (, October 18, 2010)

According to The Wall Street Journal, CNPC has struggled to finance the South Pars project, but has not reneged on its contract with Tehran (The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2012).

In April 2013, the Tehran Times reported that CNPC and Iran terminated the contract to develop Phase 11. CNPC was replaced by the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (Tehran Times, April 23, 2013).

Date: September 2009 – April 2014

Deal: Rigzone reported that CNPC has signed a deal with NIOC to develop Iran's South Azadegan oil field, buying a 70 percent share in the project. "The deal is couched in buy-back terms, in which CNPC will hand over the operation of the field to NIOC after development and will receive payments from the oil production for a few years to cover its investment" (Rigzone, September 30, 2009).

In February 2014, the Tehran Times reported that Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh warned CNPC that the company could be expropriated from the project should they continue to drag their feet on its development. An Iranian oil company executive noted that CNPC had only drilled seven out of a promised 185 wells (Tehran Times, February 19, 2014).

At the end of April 2014, Reuters reported that Iran canceled CNPC's contract to develop the Azadegan oil field (Reuters, May 1, 2014). 

Date: April 2010

Deal: Reuters reported that Chinaoil, a trading unit of CNPC, sold two gasoline cargoes to Iran for April delivery. "The cargoes were Chinaoil's first direct sales to Iran since at least January 2009, according to Reuters data. Chinese firms have previously sold through intermediaries, traders said" (Reuters, April 14, 2010).

U.S. Business Ties: CNPC does not appear to have any business operations in the United States, according to its website (CNPC Worldwide, accessed June 22, 2010).

According to, CNPC has received no U.S. federal government contracts or grants (, accessed August 20, 2014).

Last Updated: August 20, 2014