Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Criticizes Total, sees New South Pars Partner | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

TEHRAN, (Reuters) – A senior Iranian oil official said France’s Total had wasted time in work on a South Pars gas field phase and that a new partner would enter the project with a “leading share”, media reported on Wednesday.

Seyfollah Jashnsaz, head of the National Iranian Oil Company, did not name the new partner in comments carried by the ISNA news agency and the IRIB state broadcaster or give other details.

It came less than a month after he was quoted on Feb. 18 as saying that Iran would finalise a $5 billion deal with oil major Total by March 20 to develop the South Pars project.

“We are not happy with the work Total has done on Phase 11 in South Pars. Unfortunately this company has wasted time and our national project has been delayed,” Jashnsaz was quoted as saying by ISNA on Wednesday.

“Based on bilateral agreements it was decided that a new partner would be introduced by the two sides so that because of Total’s limitations the leading share would be transferred to that new company,” he said.

After Jashnsaz’s comments in February, Paris-based Total said it did not expect to sign an agreement on South Pars anytime soon.

Yves-Louis Darricarrere, head of Total’s exploration and production, had earlier said that talks with Tehran were moving “very slowly” and that a decision was still far off.

He reiterated that Total would not invest in Iran until the geopolitical environment allowed the French group to do so.

Comments by new U.S. President Barack Obama that he was willing to start talks with Iran have rekindled hopes among companies that courted Iran for energy deals.

Many western majors such as Total had come under pressure to stay out of Iran from the French government and the previous U.S. administration, which sought to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program.

Total has a memorandum of understanding with state-owned National Iranian Oil Company to develop Phase 11 of the huge South Pars field but the project has been overshadowed by haggling over contract terms.