EghtesadOnline: French energy major Total reiterated its pledge to a major gas project in Iran despite concerns that the actions of US President Donald Trump against the nuclear accord with Tehran could throw the gas deal into uncertainty, according to a report by Financial Times.
Total signed a $5 billion deal in July to develop Phase 11 of South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, becoming the first major western company to enter the Iranian energy market after last year's lifting of international sanctions.
A decision by Trump not to endorse the nuclear deal could create challenges for new investments by western companies in the Middle East nation. Trump is expected to certify Iran's compliance with the accord in about 10 days.
But Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne threw his support behind the gas deal, asserting that the world's fourth-largest gas company will stick to the South Pars project even if the US pulls out of the deal, Financial Tribune reported.
“We knew when we signed that it will not be an easy road … But I prefer to have a problem to solve and to have the opportunity rather than having not signed [and] no opportunities,” he said in Washington on Tuesday.
Pouyanne had cast doubt on the SP Phase 11 project when he said in February that the French major was waiting for an extension of the waiver on US sanctions against Iran.
"Total's new deal with Iran is aimed at producing natural gas for consumption inside Iran," he said in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of a business conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence on Friday.
On the heels of signing the gas deal in July, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said sanctions would not directly affect the parties involved in the Phase 11 project.
Total holds a 50.1% stake in Phase 11 along with state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation with 30% and Iran's Petropars with a 19.9% share.
Iranian officials say Total is also in advanced negotiations on building a petrochemical plant in Iran. The company has reportedly reached a preliminary agreement to build three petrochemical plants, with a total capacity of 2.2 million tons in a deal that, if finalized, could see the French oil major investing up to $2 billion in Iran.