9 May 2007 - 10:23
  • News Code: 104195
Total to Forge Ahead with Pars LNG

TEHRAN -- Representative of the French oil giant Total in Iran has said the Company would be pushing ahead with the Iranian Pars LNG project.

In an interview with Isna, Pierre Fabiani said, "Despite the problems we are facing regarding expenses in the liquefied natural gas project, Total is determined to press ahead."

"The hike in the costs of oil projects is a global problem," he noted.

"A refinery construction project in Kuwait has been delayed for the same reason and even the GTL project of the US giant Exxon Mobil in Qatar has been terminated due to the dramatic rise in the expenses", he added.

The official, however, said that Total, in collaboration with its partners the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the Malaysian Petronas, is seeking a solution to the problem.

Commenting on the Iranian oil ministry"s decision to extend the deadline given to Total by three months for making the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the project, he noted," We will continue our talks with the contractors of the project so as to curb expenses."

"If the final decision on the project is made during this period, the first LNG consignment will be made available to the market in 2011", he said.

Fabiani also played down the effects of political issues on the project, saying that such problems are not Total"s main concerns.

The Total official dismissed the likelihood of any sanctions on Iran"s oil industry, noting that many countries are not willing to get involved in sanctions against Iran.

In an interview last month, Fabiani sid Total is working with Iran to reduce mounting costs for a planned liquefied natural gas project and hopes to make a final decision on the investment later 2007. He made clear the cost level was the main hurdle for its planned participation in building Iran"s first LNG export terminal.

"Of course it is a big problem ... the rest are really secondary problems," he told Reuters during an international oil and gas conference in the Iranian capital.

"We believe it could become a good project if we can solve these difficulties. The Iranians are working with us on that," Fabiani said.

Total agreed to take on the South Pars project in February 2004, with an initial start date of 2009 that has since been pushed back to 2011 after years of wrangling over terms.

Asked about the impact of the Iran"s nuclear dispute on Total"s plans, Fabiani said, "It is not easing our job, but it is not preventing (it) ... we are not in the nuclear business."

He underlined that Iran"s huge oil and gas reserves were a magnet for energy companies, despite the political risks.

Fabiani further declined to give figures but said high costs were a problem the industry faced in other countries as well. "It is not an Iranian problem, it is a world problem.

"Total will decide on whether to go ahead with the project once we have solved this cost question."

Asked whether it could happen this year, he said, "I hope so."


News Code 104195

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