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Iran says that France’s Total may have to compensate it if the company has disclosed data about South Pars to neighboring Qatar, with which the Islamic Republic shares the world’s biggest gas field.
Iranian media cited the country’s oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, as issuing the warning on local TV.
Total operates in Qatar, in what Qatar calls the North field, where production of natural gas began in 1998. Qatar has signed development deals with international companies including Total, Italy’s Eni SpA, and Norway’s Statoil. The whole of the gas field - both Qatari and Iranian parts - has proven natural gas reserves of 14 trillion cubic meters, or 7.5 percent of the global gas reserves.
According to what Iran’s Mehr new agency reported today, Zanganeh said that data about only two of the 30 South Pars phases has been assigned to Total. But “if it is manifested that Total has passed on Iran’s secret information to the Qatari side, the issue will end up in a dispute since the French company will be required to pay reimbursement,” the agency quoted Zanganeh as saying.
Total, which last year signed a preliminary agreement to develop phase 11 of the South Pars gas field in Iran, is taking a cautious approach to final investment decisions in Iran, pending still unknown U.S. policies towards Tehran.
Related: Total Going On The Offensive
Last week, Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said that the company was waiting for an extension of the waiver on U.S. sanctions against Iran before it makes the final decision on a US$2.2-billion investment.
Pouyanne told media in Paris that the waiver, first introduced by President Obama, should be renewed before this summer and should last for another 18 months. He noted that the new administration in Washington would have to provide proof of Iran’s breach of the 2015 agreement with Western powers in order to avoid extending the waiver.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.