Total not giving up on Iran gas even as Trump hardens stance

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Total won't give up on its deal to develop Iran's gas industry so easily.
Even as US President Donald Trump threatens to impose more sanctions on Iran and to pull out of a multilateral pact that made it easier to do business there, the French oil major plans to seek legal advice before deciding what to do, chief executive officer Patrick Pouyanne said.
'We are waiting to see what the US Congress will decide, what would be a new framework of sanctions, he said on Thursday during a talk at the Chatham House think tank in London. 'If we cannot legally pursue, we will have to stop, but we will not give up like that.
Total signed a deal to develop phase 11 of Iran's giant South Pars field in July, pledging $1bn of investments. Trump last month declared a hardened stance toward Iran as he refused to certify that Iran is in compliance with the multinational accord to curb its nuclear programme, though he stopped short of repudiating the pact.
Majors like Total are already meant to respect some US sanctions on Iran which include a ban on the use of dollars in business transactions. Total has been able to circumvent this ban by using its own equity rather than project finance, Pouyanne said.
Pouyanne said Total weighed the risks of going back to Iran and believes it will benefit from being first after sanctions were eased in January last year.
'It was a win-win decision, Pouyanne said. 'When you are the first, you have a chance to innovate and 'have the best contract, he said.


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