Confusion over Total’s Iran gas deal
Iranian government official seems to make contradictory statements over French supermajor’s future in the South Pars project.
A senior executive at Iran’s oil ministry has claimed the country’s big ticket gas development deal with supermajor Total, and China’s state-run China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), is still going ahead as planned, hours after claiming that the French firm had pulled out and CNPC had taken its share, according to the Reuters news agency.
Mohammad Mostafavi, director of investment at Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company, allegedly told the oil ministry news agency SHANA, “The role of the members of the consortium developing this project is in accordance with the provisions of the contract, and there is still no formal change in these provisions” but earlier he had informed state news agency IRNA that CNPC had taken over Total’s shareholding in a deal that had been set to see an initial $1bn investment at the South Pars gas project.
South Pars contains the largest amount of natural gas reserves found in one place and Total was the first western nation to pen a deal with the Islamic republic after sanctions were initially lifted in 2016. But US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has left the French firm seeking a waiver to continue in the project – as yet none has been forthcoming.
Total hasn’t categorically stated what it will do with its majority stake in the project if the US does not grant it a waiver and no spokesperson was available for comment according to Reuters.