Iran says it has started talks with South Africa over a strategic project to produce fuel from natural gas Ė a project that South Africaís chemicals firm Sasol was pursuing in the Islamic Republic but later had to abandon as a result of sanctions.
A report by Iranís IRNA news agency said the development of a gas-to-liquid (GTL) project had been raised in a meeting between Marziyeh Shahdaei, the managing director of the National Petrochemical Company of Iran, and Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the visiting South African minister of energy.
The GTL project under discussion between the two countries would have a production capacity of 50,000 barrels per day (bpd), IRNA added.
Both Shahdaei and Joemat-Pettersson agreed to expedite the relevant discussions toward a final agreement, it said in its report.
Previously, Sasol was to develop a GTL project at Phase 14 of Iranís South Pars gas zone. However, it had to quit the projects in 2005 as complications grow as a result of US pressures on foreign investors in Iran as well as certain technical hurdles.
The removal of sanctions against Iran last January encouraged the South African chemical major to approach Tehran to resume GTL talks.
Sasol announced in August 2016 that it was interested in not only Iranís GTL prospects but also a similar project that involved the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
On a related front, Iran and South Africa last April signed a basic GTL production agreement that involved another company Ė PetroSA.
This took place during a landmark visit to the Islamic Republic by South Africaís President Jacob Zuma.