Iran gasfield proves too hot to handle for Total

Total may pull out of Iran South Pars project

Total may pull out of Iran South Pars project

French energy giant Total joined other major European companies in saying they will exit Iran unless us sanctions are waived, casting a shadow over efforts by European leaders to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

In announcing his withdrawal from the deal, Trump warned companies that they face sanctions if they do business with Iran.

Despite the US' withdrawal, the European Union said it would remain committed to the deal and would ensure sanctions on Iran remain lifted, as long as Tehran meets its commitments.

French energy firm Total on Wednesday said it might not be able to continue its gas development project in Iran, unless it gets a waiver from the U.S.to protect it from reimposed sanctions.

Total has been carrying out tenders for topsides, jackets, pipelines and other work since soon after receiving its $2 billion contract for the gas field in July 2017, but it has yet to make a final investment decision.

Total was the furthest advanced of its European oil major peers in a cautious feeling out of upstream opportunities in Iran since the easing of global sanctions at the start of 2016. Total could also hand the project back to the Iranians who could then sell the interest to another nation.

Iran did not immediately comment on Total's announcement.

The US decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal between Iran and an alliance of western powers was taken earlier this month, despite opposition from France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and threatens a huge swathe of global business deals. Its partners in the project are Chinese state oil company CNPC, and Iran's Petropars.

"Total.will have to unwind all related operations before 4 November 2018 unless Total is granted a specific project waiver by the US authorities with the support of the French and European authorities", it said. They could not afford to be sanctioned by remaining in Iran.

Germany's Allianz, an insurance giant with a major presence in the United States, said it intends to wind down what it called its "totally minimal" business in Iran.

Another Danish oil tanker operator Torm has said it would stop taking new orders in Iran. However, officials with the company state that they will have to walk away from the project if they are not exempted from the new U.S. sanctions.

Total's position shows how hard it will be for European powers to safeguard their interests inIran and offer guarantees to save the nuclear deal.

The EU's top energy official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is heading to Iran for talks from May 18 to 21 to discuss ways of trying to overcome renewed USA sanctions against Iran's oil industry.

But Mogherini said the European Union would make every effort to maintain business ties with Tehran and ensure that Tehran can continue to sell its oil around the world.

Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on May 16 that Tehran would survive the renewed sanctions.

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