Iran is hoping to secure more overseas investment after a consortium led by France’s Total on Tuesday signed a $4.8bn deal to develop part of the giant South Pars gasfield — the first major energy agreement since the country’s landmark nuclear accord.

“This is an icebreaker and we shall see more multibillion-dollar oil and gas contracts with other companies including Russians and Europeans soon,” Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister for international affairs told the Financial Times.

“The next agreement might be in a few weeks,” he added, without giving further details.
Iran has the world’s second-largest gas reserves and fourth-largest oil reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration, but needs $200bn of investment to revive its antiquated energy sector over the next five years.

Total will be joined by China’s CNPC and Iran’s Petropars to develop Phase II of South Pars, the world’s largest gasfield that is shared between Iran and Qatar.

The three companies are expected to invest $4.8bn in Phase II. On Tuesday the companies signed a provisional agreement in Tehran with the National Iranian Oil Company, the state-controlled energy group.

The final contract, expected to be inked within months, is due to last for 20 years.