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Chinese oil majors pause before drilling deeper in Iran

Despite robust earnings, US sanctions add to risks on energy deals

A general view shows a unit of South Pars Gas field in Asalouyeh Seaport, north of Persian Gulf
Asalouyeh Seaport in Iran looks out over the vast South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Chinese state-owned oil companies reported robust earnings for the six months ended in June, but uncertainty looms, not so much over the outlook for crude prices but over how to handle U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Coming off a first half in which its net profit doubled, PetroChina faces a golden opportunity to take control of a project in an Iranian gas field following French energy group Total's announcement that it will pull out.

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