If the deal goes through, it will be the second big oil and gas contract with Iran
China's leading offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC is very likely to sing a US$16 bn contract to develop Iran's North Pars gas field.
If the deal goes through, it will be the second big oil and gas contract with Iran for energy China in several months, following a US$2 billion agreement by Chinese oil refiner Sinopec to develop the Yadavaran oil field.
Beijing has defended its growing business ties with Iran against criticism by the United States.
"Cooperation between CNOOC and Iran is a business act between enterprises," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., did not respond to phone calls or emails about the deal. The Iranian oil ministry's official Shana Web site said a signing ceremony was planned for Wednesday, but by late Thursday there was no announcement that the signing had occurred in either the Iranian or Chinese press.