Total to drop billion-dollar Iranian gas project unless USA waives sanctions

16 May, 2018, 22:46 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Total to drop billion-dollar Iranian gas project unless USA waives sanctions

Supporters of the deal, which lifted earlier sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for it curbing its nuclear ambitions, need to find a way to reassure companies that their investments are beyond Washington's extra-territorial reach.

Oil companies have been forced to reassess their investment plans in the OPEC producer, however, in the wake of the May 8 move by the USA to pull out of the worldwide nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions on the country.

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. Joe Kaeser, the CEO of Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE), told CNN his company would not be able to do any new business with Tehran.

"Total has always been clear that it can not afford to be exposed to any secondary sanction which might include the loss of financing in dollars by United States banks for its worldwide operations", the group said.

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France, Germany and Britain are leading a European effort to safeguard Europe's economic interests but have few options that pose any threat to the United States.

The oil company said U.S. institutions were involved in 90pc of its financing operations, and make up 30pc of its shareholder base. "They have us by the throat because so much business is conducted and cleared in dollars", one European investment banker said.

"This project waiver should include protection of the company from any secondary sanction as per USA legislation".

"In these circumstances, Total will not take any further commitment related to the SP11 project and, is engaging with the French and USA authorities to examine the possibility of a project waiver", the group said. "With that in mind it's a logical decision", a European diplomat said of Total's decision.

Since the July 2015 nuclear accord, Total, together with its project partners, has been carrying on tendering for subcontracts and other preparatory work to develop the eleventh phase of the South Pars development, which would supply the domestic market in Iran. Russian Federation has also said it remains committed to the deal.

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