France’s Total still in LNG Talks with Iran

French oil group Total is still in discussions with Iranian partners on its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project for gas extracted from the South Pars field, but added political issues could cause problems for the company. “I cannot comment… on the current geopolitical situation,” said Jean-Marc Hosanski, senior vice-president of Total Gas & Power’s LNG division, at a conference in Beijing, “but there are of course tensions affecting Iran, including the LNG project.”

“As the developer of the project we are trying to restore the logistics, reduce the costs and continue discussions (with the Iranian side),” he said.

“Of course the geopolitical situation is difficult, but we can only put together the conditions to make the deal economical and deal with the political problems later,” he added.

France’s Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, said in Moscow earlier in the week that he was urging Total to withdraw from Iran amid escalating tensions over the country’s nuclear plans.

Meanwhile, further problems have arisen in talks between Total and Iran over the price of LNG produced at the South Pars project, with the Iranian oil minister suggesting that the entire project be renegotiated.

Chinese companies, including CNOOC and Petro China, have been in talks with Total about getting involved with the South Pars terminal project. Hosanski said he could not comment on matters involving the Chinese side of the deal.

The two Chinese companies have also held separate discussions with the Iranian side on developing the South Pars gas resources.

Representatives from the Chinese companies declined to comment on the issue.

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