France's Total will quit Iran gas project if no sanctions waiver


"On 8 May 2018, President Donald Trump announced the United States' decision to withdraw from the JCPOA (nuclear agreement) and to reinstate the U.S. sanctions that were in force before the JCPOA's implementation, subject to certain wind down periods", Total said in a statement.

Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop phase 11 of Iran's South Pars gas field, with an initial planned investment of $1bn (£750m).

TOT "will not be in a position to continue the SP11 project and will have to unwind all related operations" before November 4 unless it receives a waiver from the US protecting it from sanctions.

The oil company said USA institutions were involved in 90pc of its financing operations, and make up 30pc of its shareholder base.

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Companies are starting to take matters into their own hands as European and some other governments struggle to save the Iran deal.

For the French firm to remain, a challenge waiver must shield the corporate from "any secondary sanction as per United States laws", it mentioned.

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.

A European diplomat was more blunt: "We have a situation where there is a will to impose sanctions on Europeans and a resentment towards European companies who are now being accused of supporting a terrorist state".

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The Phase 11 contract will automatically go to Total's consortium partner China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and local player Petropars if the French player does pull out, Iranian officials have previously said.

TOT says it has spent less than 40M so far on the project and that a withdrawal would not affect its 5% compound annual growth rate target during 2016-22. "With that in mind it's a logical decision".

German insurer Allianz said its business in Iran was "totally minimal" but while they were waiting for guidance from the European Union and the German government they would be winding down any business there. Total does about 30 percent of its business through the USA banking system. Joe Kaesar, the CEO of Germany's Siemens, told CNN his company would not be able to do any new business with Tehran.

Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday, that Tehran would overcome pressures resulting from the United States' withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

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