Iran: If Total Won't Seal South Pars Deal, Other Companies Will

Total SA had until June to determine whether they would commit to the multi-billion dollar development of Phase 11 for the South Pars gas field, but Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company said enough time has passed and a decision must be made.

Pars CEO Ali Vakili told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that "two or three years" should be enough time to make a decision. "We can't deprive the country from development opportunities, thus the deadline granted to Total won't be extended, and we can't wait more than we did so far," he said.

Total VP of Middle East Exploration and Production Andre Goffart told IRNA that his company needs time beyond the June deadline to discuss the project with the National Iranian Oil Company.

"It is our responsibility to invest and develop oil and gas fields in Iran, and if Total doesn't want to invest, then we will eye different companies," said Vakili.

The previous and most recent deadline had been set for March. At that time, Pars Managing Director Akbar Torkan said the March deadline would be the last opportunity for Total to decide on development proceedings.

Total's Goffart said he is not worried about reaching an agreeable deal.

"We have to invest in the project," said Goffart. "We are optimistic, and I think we will reach an agreement … I think Iran is important to the energy market, and the market needs gas from Iran, and we are here for a long term."

Iran, which is under U.S. sanctions has faced delays in its oil and gas projects. Iran and companies like Total believe that the success of such projects is tantamount to the success of meeting energy demands.

Iran Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari told audience members at the 11th International Energy Forum that sanctions against oil producing countries have led to supply problems and the resulting volatility in the market.

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