Total, Shell Given Deadline for Iran's South Pars Development

LONDON Oct. 17, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswire)

The managing director of Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company has given European oil giants Total SA (TOT) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) until June 2008 to finalize their contracts for planned liquefied natural gas developments, the Shana news agency, reported on its Web site Wednesday.

Speaking in a press conference Tuesday, Dr. Ali Vakili Shamgah said Total has until June 2008 to decide on investing in phase 11 of South Pars gas field, the agency reported.

He emphasized the deadline cannot be renewed, and there are numerous replacements for Total as a lot of companies have expressed interest in developing the field, Shana reported.

Shell also has until early June 2008 to finalize the contract for development for phase 13 and 14 of South Pars, he said, a deadline which also cannot be renewed.

Vakili Shamgah said the deadline has been given to encourage the companies to reach a conclusion.

Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said last month that negotiations with Iran over South Pars had reached an impasse. Rising costs and political pressure due to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program also threaten the development.

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