French oil and gas major Total would have to review its Iran gas project if the United States decided to impose unilateral sanctions on Tehran, given its interests in the US market, Total’s chief executive told CNN.
Last month, US President Donald Trump unveiled a tough and comprehensive new policy towards Iran. He accused Tehran of violating the nuclear accord and announced that he would no longer certify that the lifting of sanctions was in US interests.
The agreement is now effectively in limbo while Congress decides how to respond as it now has about a month to decide whether it will re-impose sanctions on Iran.
“Either we can do the deal legally if there is a legal framework,” Patrick Pouyanne said in remarks made to CNNMoney Emerging Markets late on Monday.
“If we cannot do that for legal reasons, because of change of regime of sanctions, then we have to review it.”
Pouyanne’s office confirmed to AFP that the interview had taken place.
“If there is a sanctions regime on Iran, then we will have to study it carefully,” Pouyanne also said.
“We work in the USA, we have assets there and we have just acquired more assets in the US” he added.
Total has become the first major Western oil company to sign an agreement with Iran to develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field, the world's largest gas field.
It increased its US presence in November 8 with the purchase of a portfolio of liquified natural gas assets from Engie (ENGIY), including the company's stake in the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana, one of the first new gas export terminals in North America.
Iran has repeatedly said Total's agreement on the South Pars field demonstrated the success of the nuclear deal, hoping that other Western and Asian companies would sign agreements with Iran.
However, fearing possible US sanctions, western companies and major international banks are still reluctant to invest in Iran.
Pouyanne said that until the US makes its decision, it would push ahead with the South Pars deal, repeating that the company hoped for first contracts to be concluded by January.