July 16, 2008

Total to Continue Projects in Iran: Report

Total to continue projects in Iran: report

TEHRAN, July 15 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of French energy giant Total said that its company is interested in continuing cooperation with Iran in its oil and gas sectors, the semi- official Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.

In a letter to Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari, Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie rejected recent reports on Total's withdrawal from South Pars gas field, describing them as political propaganda, Mehr news agency quoted an unnamed Total official as saying.

"Total's stance on Iran is quite clear. We are interested in continuing our activities," the official said.

Earlier on Tuesday, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) rejected reports about Total's withdrawal from the nation's South Pars gas deal, saying it has officially announced that it would carry out its commitments in Iran's oil industry.

Last week, Total reportedly announced it would withdraw from a multi-billion dollar deal to develop Phase 11 of Iran's South Pars gas field, saying it found further investment in Iran too risky.

Later, the group said Iran is one of the most important countries for the world's energy market and expressed Total's interest in participating in future projects pertaining to the development of South Pars gas field.

The South Pars field has around 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, which accounts for about eight percent of the world's gas reserves.

Iran, which has the world's second largest proven oil reserves, ranks number four in global crude production and number two in the OPEC.

It also has the second biggest proven gas reserves after Russia but so far has played only a minor role in the global gas market.

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