PARIS (Reuters) – The boss of French oil and gas company Total <TOTF.FA> said on Monday that it would be happy to be the first Western oil company to reach an agreement with Iran, but he said a deal had not yet been signed.
“Discussions are going on and we’ll see if we can sign in the coming days,” Patrick Pouyanne told CNN Money on the sidelines of an Abu Dhabi petroleum conference.
Asked about the estimated $6 billion value of the potential deal, Pouyanne said: “…developing a phase of South Pars (gas field) is more in the range of $2 billion dollars than $6 billion.”
Iran’s SHANA news agency said on Monday that Total and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) would sign new contracts on Tuesday with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on the second phase of the South Pars gas field.
Total has had a previous involvement in South Pars, one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, which is located in the middle of the Persian Gulf. In 1997, Iranian authorities awarded the development of phases 2 & 3 of the field to a Total subsidiary.
“We developed some phases of South Pars in the past,” Pouyanne told CNN Money. “We were on the verge of sanctioning a project in 2010 just before the sanctions,” he said, referring to sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme.
“Naturally we have engaged discussions with Iran on this topic. So, let see if we can conclude a satisfactory deal for all the parties,” Pouyanne said, adding that he would not be travelling to Tehran himself.
(Reporting by Bate Felix and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Jane Merriman)