Speaking to reporters following signature of a heads
of agreement between the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) and a consortium
of international companies, known as Pergas, for development of Iran’s Karanj
Oilfield, Mr. Zangeneh touched on Total’s possible pullout from the development
of South Pars Phase 11 project, and said: “According to the contract, the company
has announced it would begin the withdrawal process if it cannot secure a
waiver from U.S. sanctions.”
Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop phase
11 of Iran’s South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion.
He said: “If Total fails to secure the waiver
from the US, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) will take over its stake
in the project.”
The official further said in case CNPC pulled out
of the deal, too, the other party of the contract, Iran’s Petropars, would replace
it as the major developer of the project.
Asked whether Total would be fined for pulling out
of the deal, Zangeneh said: “There is no discussion of fining, but the amount Total
has invested in the project so far will not be repaid to it for now.”
He said CPNC and Petropars are capable of
developing the project’s first phase which is natural gas production, “therefore,
the project will certainly not be halted.”
“Regarding the dialogues with the Pergas Consortium,
I am not worried about financing and procurement of equipment and items for development
of the field by the consortium,” he went on to add.
Gas Exports to Iraq
Speaking of Iraq’s political development and its
impact on Iran’s gas flow to its neighbor, Zangeneh said, “Whatever party that
takes power in Iraq would need gas because it would benefit the country.”
Iraq is supplying most of its need for gas at a
relatively high price while importing from Iran
would cost less than half for the OPEC member oil producer.
Regarding oil swap with Kirkuk, he said the swap operation
had not started yet but it would benefit both countries.
Asked about South Pars Oil Layer development, he
said: “For the time being, less must be said and options had better not been
“Up until last year, OPEC members viewed the
prices of oil at $60 to $65 per barrel as suitable,” the Iranian Minister of