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Iran sees gas deal with Total within weeks

DUBAI (Reuters) — Iran expects to sign a long-delayed gas deal with French oil major Total in the next few weeks, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"Iran and Total are summing up the discussions on signing the contract for the development of phase 11 of South Pars, and this is almost in the final stages," said Zanganeh, quoted by the oil ministry's news website SHANA.

"The contract ... will be signed before the end of the (current) government," Zanganeh said.

Re-elected in May, President Hassan Rouhani is expected to form his new cabinet in August.

Total's chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in late May that the company planned to conclude the South Pars gas deal before summer.

Separately, the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said it had certified five more companies from Russia and Azerbaijan to bid for Iranian upstream energy projects.

"NIOC has added Russia's Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Tatneft and Zarubezhneft and Azerbaijan's state-owned SOCAR, taking its list of pre-qualified companies to a total of 34," NIOC said on its website.

In January, Iran named 29 companies from more than a dozen countries as being allowed to bid for oil and gas projects using the new, less restrictive Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Adrian Croft

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