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2017-02-21T09:19:49+03:30
Total Pulling Out of Iran Project a False Rumor

TEHRAN (NIOC) _ Iran has rejected reports that France’s Total had pulled out of an initial deal to develop part of Iran’s giant South Pars gas field.


Total sealed the $4.8 billion deal in November to develop Phase 11 of South Pars but there are reports that it is having second thoughts amid President Donald Trump’s harsh anti-Iran rhetoric.

Deputy Minister of Petroleum Ali Kardor dismissed those speculations on Monday, saying there is no indication of a "retreat or withdrawal" by the French company.

"Total has already started planning to build the first leg of the platform for Phase 11 of South Pars," he said.

According to the official, a team of negotiators from Total visited Tehran recently to follow up on discussions about contractual and technical issues.

Total heads a consortium that also includes China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Iran’s Petropars. Total will control 50.1% of the consortium, with CNPC taking a 30% stake and Petropars 19.9%.

The South Pars field in the Persian Gulf contains some 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, which accounts for eight percent of the world's known reserves.

Besides Total, negotiations have been held with Denmark’s Maersk to develop South Pars’ oil layer, with Russia’s Lukoil to boost oil recovery from Ab Teymour and Mansouri fields and with Germany’s largest oil and gas producer Wintershall to develop four oil fields in western Iran, Kardor said.

"Final agreements with these companies are predicted to be signed soon," he said.

Kardor’s reassuring words came as Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh warned Total against handing over information about Phase 11 to the Qataris who share South Pars reserves with Iran.

If they (Total) give our information to the Qataris, they will have to pay heavy damages. However, such a thing is very unlikely to happen,” Zangeneh told Fars news agency on Monday.

Total first signed an agreement back in 2004 to develop Phase 11 and a gas plant at South Pars, but it was never finalized. The company helped develop phases two and three of South Pars, but left Iran when France joined Western sanctions in 2011.

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