EghtesadOnline: Iran says it has given the required work permits to the foreign employees of the French energy giant Total thus setting the company in motion to start the development of a key gas project in the country.
The employees for whom the work permits were issued included directors as well as experts, Iran’s media quoted a statement by the Ministry of Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare as saying.
The Ministry added in its statement, as reported by IRNA news agency, that the offshoot of the French company had been officially registered as Total Iran BV in Tehran last month.
The company would focus on investments in upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of Iran’s oil and gas industries, IRNA further reported.
In early July, according to PressTV, Total signed an agreement worth $4.8 billion over the development of South Pars Phase 11 in cooperation with China’s CNPC and Iran’s Petropars.
The decision to sign the deal followed months of deliberations by the French energy giant which had said would need to wait for the policies of US President Donald Trump toward Iran before moving ahead with the development of South Pars Phase 11.
Total would be the first major Western enterprise to invest in Iran’s energy sector after the removal of sanctions against the country in 2016.
Its moves toward Iran would be closely watched by other international giants that are still wary about falling afoul of US primary sanctions that ban investments in the Islamic Republic.
Total has said it would coordinate closely with the US government over its Iran plans and has to the same effect opened a governmental relations office in Washington.
The company’s chief Patrick Pouyanné had previously said he knew Total would have a bumpy road ahead over its Iran investment plans but emphasized that he was ready to take the risks.
“We knew when we signed that it will not be an easy road,” Pouyanné was quoted by media as saying last month. “But I prefer to have a problem to solve and to have the opportunity rather than having not signed [and] no opportunities.”