France's Total signs $4.8 billion natural gas project with Iran

France's Total signs $4.8 billion natural gas project with Iran
France's Total signs $4.8 billion natural gas project with Iran
Author

04 July, 2017

A spokesman for Total confirmed the company will sign the contract to produce gas for the Iranian market from 2021, adding that the 20-year deal with will be the first Iranian Petroleum Contract (IPC) signed in Iran.

Iran's oil ministry announced that French energy giant Total will sign a multi-billion-dollar contract to develop its giant South Pars gas field in the Gulf.

In November, Total signed a head of agreement deal with the National Iranian Oil Co.to help develop phase 11. Total is the operator of the SP11 project with a 50.1% interest alongside the Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNPC (30%), and Petropars (19.9%), a wholly owned subsidiary of NIOC.

He also held out a hand to United States oil companies, saying his country needs some 200 billion dollars (£153 billion) of investments in its oil industry in the next five years to make up for time lost during sanctions.

Iran, long on oil and gas, but short on capital and technology, could be the next great energy frontier if global and domestic politics permit.

The offshore field - the largest natural gas field in the world - was first developed in the 1990s, when Total was one of the largest investors in Iran.

All of the natural gas from Phase 11 is slated for the Iranian economy, the world's third largest gas market.

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Hossein Amiri Khamkani, a member of an Iranian parliamentary committee on energy, said he believed Monday's deal "breaks the taboo of American sanctions and opens the way for other companies". Austrian energy company OMV in late January hosted representatives from Iran's Dana Energy Co., a player in exploration and development, to sign of new arrangements for potential work.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne has said that the first $1 billion pledged by Total on Monday was to be used in helping fund the first phase of the project.

The contract has a 20-year duration, extendable by another five years.

Although the deal was finalized late previous year, the phase 11 announcement was delayed for several months after US President Donald Trump threatened during his election campaign to tear up the nuclear agreement. The signing of the final document was postponed to allow for inspections to ensure compliance with USA sanctions against Iran. It "also gains the Iranians some diplomatic cover from both France and China in the event of attempts to impose further sanctions", he said, referring to antagonism to Iran expressed by some US government officials, including President Donald Trump. Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh put the overall value of the contract at about $5 billion.

Iran's oil output has jumped 1.2 million barrels a day to 3.9 million barrels a day since sanctions were lifted.

"We're the first Western major to return to Iran".


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