Iran sees ‘new chapter’ in ties with Total

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran welcomes French energy giant Total’s return to the resource-rich country amid Tehran’s drive to step up oil and gas development projects after the removal of sanctions. 

Zangeneh made the announcement after a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who visited Tehran to “revive relations” after the finalization of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

“A new chapter will open in cooperation with France’s Total for development of Iran’s oilfields,” the Ministry of Petroleum’s Shana news outlet quoted Zangeneh as saying.

“Total has been present in Iran’s oil projects for more than 20 years and in view of the intent expressed by the French, a new door is supposed to open for the expansion of the company’s activities in developing Iranian oilfields,” he added.

Total ran a gas project in Iran from 1995 to 2000 together with Russian and Asian partners to develop Phase 2 and 3 of the South Pars field at a cost of more than $2 billion.

It also developed Iran’s offshore Balal oilfield along with Italy’s Elf and Canada’s Bow Valley in 1999 in a deal worth $300 million.

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Petroleum Amir Hossein Zamaninia said Total “did a great job” when it ignored the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of US Congress to participate in Iran’s energy projects.

In April, CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Total could not ignore Iran’s natural gas potentials. “Iran has the world’s second largest gas reserves after Russia, and we will consider returning to this country once sanctions are lifted,” he said in Russia.

French FM Laurent Fabius and Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh hold talks in Tehran.

Zangeneh said he also discussed with Fabius the French companies’ interest in Iranian petrochemical projects as well as cooperation on efficient energy use, LNG production and supply of equipment.

“French companies are due to have a broad presence in Iran’s petrochemical industry beside continuing their past activities which were mostly providing investment and finance,” he said.

Iranian and French companies are planned to cooperate on production of equipment for the Iranian oil industry under French brand labels and investment which, besides being used locally, will be exported to regional countries, Zangeneh added.

Fabius said his oil and energy talks with Zangeneh were “very positive”, hoping the results would be also satisfactory, Shana reported. It also quoted Zamaninia as saying that France’s oil and gas executives will travel to Tehran soon for negotiations.

French gas and power group Engie said on Wednesday it was weighing involvement in Iranian power engineering and gas infrastructure projects.

Engie CEO Gerard Mestrallet said he has met Zangeneh in the past two years, adding Iran has the world’s second biggest gas reserves and that the country is likely to become an exporter of gas as well as oil.

By Press TV