EghtesadOnline: Total says it has opened an office in Washington to coordinate its operations in Iran where the French oil and gas major plans to develop Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field.
Total was the first Western energy firm to sign a major deal, worth $4.8 billion, with Iran after sanctions were lifted on the Islamic Revolution in 2016 under a nuclear agreement, PressTV reported.
However, US President Donald Trump’s refusal last month to endorse the nuclear agreement with Iran and his threat to levy new sanctions on the country has thrown the future of the deal into doubt.
On Thursday, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne was quoted as saying that his company would comply with any sanctions on Iran. Iranian officials, he said, “know that if we can not go ahead it is because of a decision by the US.”
The Washington office, Total said, would help coordinate relations with the US Treasury and State Department to make sure the French firm remained in compliance with any changes to US sanctions.
For now, Total is awaiting a US Congress decision on whether the Iran nuclear agreement is in line with the American interests, Pouyanne said last month. Trump has threatened to terminate the pact and if the Congress agrees, Iran could be placed under renewed sanctions.
"If the framework changes, if we can legally do and execute the contract we will do that. There are huge opportunities in Iran. But let's see if we can do that initial project first," Pouyanne said last week.
Total’s Chief Financial Officer Patrick de La Chevardiere has said the group expected to announce the main contract for South Pars at the beginning of 2018 when there would be clarity from the US.
Iranians are discontent and are expressing their frustration over perceived foot-dragging by Total. Some lawmakers have even called for penalties if Total failed to implement the project.
One lawmaker said last month that Total had virtually done nothing in Iran since the signing of the South Pars contract.