Iran’s petroleum minister has stated that French energy giant Total – that has won a deal to develop a key gas project in the country – can quit only if forced to do so as a result of sanctions by the UN Security Council.
Bijan Zanganeh said that deal determined the conditions by means of which the French company could quit the project to develop Phase 11 of South Pars energy zone.
“The agreement with Total is a credible one and that company cannot withdraw from the project under ordinary conditions,” Zanganeh said.
“It can only withdraw from the project if international sanctions are imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council.”
Zanganeh further said speculations regarding the withdrawal of Total from South Pars Phase 11 were a result of a ‘negative media campaign’ by certain groups that could benefit if the French company did so.
“There are even some who mistranslate the news regarding Total’s presence in Iran merely to create anxiety,” he noted.
In early July, 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.
Iran said in early November that it had given the required work permits to the foreign employees of the French energy giant thus setting the company in motion to start the development of the project.
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné was also quoted by media as saying that his company was moving ahead with a plan to develop South Pars Phase 11. Pouyanné nonetheless emphasized that his company would have to revisit the deal with Iran is the US re-imposes sanctions against the country.
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.