Total threatens to 'back out' of South Pars 11 in Iran

France's Total may withdraw from a major project in Iran over possible US sanctions

France's Total may withdraw from a major project in Iran over possible US sanctions

On 4 July 2017, Total, together with the other partner Petrochina, executed the contract related to the South Pars 11 (SP11) project, in full compliance with United Nations resolutions and US, EU and French legislation applicable at the time.

"In these circumstances, Total will not take any further commitment related to the SP11 project and, in accordance with its contractual commitments vis-a-vis the Iranian authorities, is engaging with the French and US authorities to examine the possibility of a project waiver", said the company.

The company also confirmed its 5%/year average production growth target between 2016 and 2022, noting "various growth opportunities which have been captured by Total in recent months."Total also said its actual investment to date with respect to the south Pars contract is less than Eur40 million".

A gas flare on an Iranian oil production platform.

For the French company to stay, a project waiver would have to protect the company from "any secondary sanction as per U.S. legislation", it said.

Background: Despite the US withdrawal, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with European Union leaders on May 15 to discuss how to circumvent USA sanctions in an effort to salvage the nuclear deal.




These might include the loss of financing in dollars by USA banks, the loss of US shareholders and the inability to continue its USA operations, it said.

"It would be suicide to do any new business or funding for Iran or Iran-related companies without explicit guarantees from the United States government".

A European diplomat was more blunt: "We have a situation where there is a will to impose sanctions on Europeans and a resentment towards European companies who are now being accused of supporting a terrorist state".

France, Britain and Germany had vowed earlier this week to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive by trying to keep Iran's oil and investment flowing, but admitted they would struggle to provide the guarantees Tehran seeks.

Industry sources told Reuters this week that China's CNPC, which holds a 30 percent stake in the South Pars project, was ready to take over Total's majority stake in the project if it pulled out.

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