BP, Shell, Total, Siemens awaiting Iran’s entire sanctions removal

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 27

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell are waiting for removal of sanctions on Iran to estimate whether to become involved in the country's oil and gas projects.

"We are engaging with relevant governments to understand the immediate and long term impact of the latest agreement on the sanction regime regarding Iran, Nureddin Wefati, the head of Media Relations for Middle East & North Africa of Shell told Trend July 27.

"It's clear that further steps are needed before sanctions are lifted or suspended.

Shell continues to comply with all relevant international sanctions. At the same time within the boundaries of the law, we are interested in exploring the role Shell can play in developing Iran's energy potential," he added.

Robert Wine, a spokesman at BP also said, " We are watching the situation and in the meantime we continue to comply with sanctions. We will look at opportunities once able to do so."

Responding to Trend's questions, Quentin Vivant, the spokesman of TOTAL also, quoted CEO Patrick Pouyanne as saying, "we still need to review the details especially regarding sanctions removal. As we said before, Total has a long history in Iran and is willing to go back when the sanctions are lifted and if the conditions are interesting."

Yashar N. Azad a spokesman for Siemens also told Trend that "we welcome the agreement between the P5+1 group and Iran. The agreement needs to be ratified by all parties now. All parties have to fulfill their obligations. It's still too early to speak of any concrete plans. However, as long as the sanctions remain in place, we'll continue to maintain full compliance with the specific sanctions imposed by the countries in which we conduct business, particularly in the area of export controls".

Iran and P5+1 reached a comprehensive nuclear deal on July 14, which paves the way for lifting sanctions on Iran's energy sector. However, the implementation of sanctions removal depends on the International Atomic Energy Agency's confirmation of the country's commitment to answer the US body's questions and cooperate with that.

Iranian government hopes the sanctions will be removed in November.

Responding to a question about whether Shell has discussed any upstream/downstream project in general with Iran or which sphere is more interesting, Wefati said that "currently, we are interested in exploring with the government of Iran what role Shell can play in developing its energy potential and also understand Iran's new fiscal terms".

Shell was one of Iran's crude oil clients that has $2.3 billion debts to Iran (based on what Iranian government has announced) remaining since the pre-sanctions era.

Wefati said, "Shell remains unable to settle the outstanding payment to the NIOC that emerged as a result of applicable sanctions. We are now closely following developments in light of the latest agreement, in particular to establish what impact, if any, it could have on our ability to settle our liability in a speedy and compliant manner."

Speaking of resuming crude oil purchase, he said, "Shell has a long history in Iran; we were lifting crude through NIOC pre-sanctions. If the proposed sanctions relief allows for a resumption of our lifting we would be engaging in discussions with relevant stakeholders in Iran on the matter."

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia said during the Iran-EU conference held July 23 in Vienna that Iran has $185 billion worth of upstream oil and gas projects to be offered to foreign companies by 2020.

During this conference Mohammad Khazaei, Deputy Minister of Economy, said that Iran held negotiations with European companies and approved projects for more than $2 billion in the past couple of weeks. He didn't explain whether these projects are oil and gas-related or not.

Edited by CN

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