Total halts $2 billion gas project in Iran

European Investment Bank Luxembourg

European Investment Bank Luxembourg

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 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.

But earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced his withdrawal from the deal, and warned companies that they face sanctions if they do business with Iran.

In a statement, Total said it "will have to unwind all related operations" before November 4, unless it's granted a specific waiver by USA authorities that would protect it against secondary sanctions.

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The group said it has $10 billion of capital employed in its USA assets, and U.S. banks are involved in 90 percent of its financing operations, making Total highly vulnerable if targeted by any United States actions.

Complete began the South Pars 11 challenge in July 2017, two years after Western powers signed a nuclear take care of Tehran prompting the return of many companies to Iran. Due on stream in 2021, the project should also yield around 70,000 b/d of condensate production.

Total also confirmed it is lobbying authorities in both Paris and Washington for a waiver to the USA sanctions which are due to come into effect November 5.

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.

SP11 is the biggest proposed project between an worldwide oil company and Iran and if Total withdraws, it will likely deal a significant blow to Tehran.

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