"Iran Remains Important Strategic Country for Total"– Company’s Official
Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 July / Trend corr G.Ahmadova, A.Badalova/ France's oil company Total thinks Iran is an important country for its strategic goals. A spokesman for Total Patricia Marie said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Paris on 17 July that the company is negotiating with Iran at the moment, but did not specify details of the negotiations.
"We are negotiating with Iran, but the real geopolitical situation in the region prevents Total from making new investments in the country," said Marie.
According to Marie, Total has not stopped its operation in Iran, but just suspended it for a while.
One of the key events that took place last week which originated hot discussions was the statement of head of French Total Christophe de Margerie in his interview with the British media that the French oil company is withdrawing from the project of development of oil and gas field in Iran and ceasing investments to Iran's economy. Margerie attributed the withdrawal of the company to the 'high political risks', since people can say Total will do anything for money. However, later the Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Seyfullah Cheshnsaz denied reports about Total's quitting Iran. According to head of NIOC which operates South Pars, the disseminated information is false and it is just 'satanic plays of the West'. He said Total would remain committed to its obligations for Iran's oil field.
Representative of Total's Foreign Relations Department Burkhard Reuss said to Trend via e-mail on 17 July that the company intends to maintain its relations with National Iranian Oil Company.
"Total's head clearly stated to Financial Times that current situation prevent company from risking to put new investment in Iran," said Reuss.
South Pars is a largest oil field in the world. The French company was to take part in the development of Phase 11 and 12 of South Pars gas field. However, in spring, it began talks on the possible withdrawal from South Pars, motivating it by the rise in the capital expenditures for the project. The English-Dutch RD/Shell and Spanish Repsol withdrew from Phase 13 earlier because of the same reasons.
According to analysts, it will be difficult to implement the South Pars project without participation of western companies. And Total's quit will irreparably strike the project.
According to an expert of U.S. research company Energy Security Analysis (ESAI) Andrew Reed, Total's quit will delay the project.
"Total brings great know-how and technology to challenging projects. If Iran seeks to implement the project without Total, there is the risk that a lack of know-how and technology will lead to delays," Reed said to Trend via e-mail on 17 July.
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