Iran dismisses Total as partner in South Pars

Total SA has been excluded from having an active role in Iran's South Pars gas field, and a new partner has taken the place of the French firm, according to a senior Iranian official.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 12 -- Total SA has been excluded from having an active role in Iran's South Pars gas field, and a new partner has taken the place of the French firm, according to a senior Iranian official.

"In talks with NIOC [National Iranian Oil Co.], Total has announced that it cannot participate in this project due to sanctions against Iran," said NIOC managing director Seyfollah Jashnsaz.

"Despite Total's good performance in Phases 2 and 3 of the South Pars gas field…they made no progress in Phase 11 under direct US pressure," Jashnsaz said.

"On the basis of coordination with Total officials, another partner will join Phase 11 of the South Pars gas field and Total's leadership share will be transferred (to the new partner)," said Jashnsaz, who did not name the new partner.

The announcement followed earlier reports that Total was still in talks with Iranian authorities about the company's possible participation in the development of South Pars.

"We are still discussing, no decision has been made yet," said a Total spokesman on Mar. 11, referring to the agreement between Total and NIOC to develop Phase 11.

Last month, Total SA Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie denied Iranian and Western media reports that his firm would sign an agreement with the Iranian government before Mar. 20 to develop the next phase of South Pars (OGJ Online, Feb. 23, 2009).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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