French oil major Total is committed to the development of an Iranian gasfield and will apply for a waiver if US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdraws from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposes sanctions on Tehran, the company’s chief executive said.
“If the US decides to put back the sanctions, we have to look at what the consequences are…and then we will see, either Donald Trump decides to maintain the waivers and we will move on with the project,” Patrick Pouyanne said in an interview in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “If the US decides not to sign the waiver, then what will be our position, it’s quite simple – as the project has been awarded prior to that decision during the period of time that we could sign … we will argue that we should benefit from the grandfather clause and we will ask for a waiver from the US authorities.”
In July last year, Total became the first Western energy company to sign a deal with Iran when it agreed as part of a 20-year contract to develop phase 11 of the country’s South Pars field, the world’s largest gasfield that is shared with Qatar. The project will have a production capacity of 2 billion cubic feet per day or 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day including condensate. The produced gas will supply the Iranian domestic market starting in 2021.
In January, Mr Trump set May 12 as the deadline to decide whether the US will re-impose sanctions that were lifted as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal that curbed Iran’s nuclear programme. He said European countries that are party to the agreement must address “terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal.”
The ultimatum has pressed Britain, France and Germany to seek ways that will mollify the American president and preserve the deal. The three European countries are considering a new set of sanctions that target Iran’s ballistic missiles and Tehran’s role in Syria’s seven-year civil war, Reuters reported on Saturday.