Iran Oil Minister Confirms French Energy Giant Total Quits $5bn Pars Gas Deal

On Monday Iran's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh confirmed the official withdrawal of France’s Total from its project in the South Pars gas field, a contract totaling $4.9 billion.

The South Pars gas field is the world’s largest, and the announcement gives final confirmation to prior reporting of the deal's imminent collapse due to the US reimposing sanctions on Iran in two phases in August and November after President Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

"Total has officially left the agreement for the development of phase 11 of South Pars (gas field). It has been more than two months that it announced that it would leave the contract," Zanganeh told the ICANA news agency, which is linked to the oil ministry, according to the AFP.

Tehran also declared early this week that it will be able to maintain oil exports, even after extensive sanctions on the energy and baking sectors snap into effect on November 5.

Speaking to State news agency IRNA on Sunday, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said that European countries have informed Tehran they will insure the Islamic Republic against any losses — though he was vague on specifics, only that the Europeans have "given assurances" and will keep Iran's leadership informed of steps to mitigate the impact of US sanctions. The Vice President further noted that "Tehran is drawing up plans for all contingencies" according Press TV's translation of the remarks. 

Analysts have predicted that Iran's oil sales could fall by about 40% to 1.5 million bpd in November after the sanctions take effect, down from 2.7 million barrels per day in May — a month which set a record high since the lifting of international sanctions under the JCPOA. Currently exports are at about 2.1 million bpd.

Total had signed the contract with the National Iranian Oil Company in July 2017 but halted implementation in early 2018 while awaiting the Trump White House's decision on the nuclear deal and US sanctions.

Meanwhile, other major firms that have recently curbed or halted business include Germany’s Siemens, French and German automotive manufacturers PSA and Daimler, airlines Air France and KLM, the world’s biggest shipping firm Maersk, French aircraft manufacturer Airbus, and Germany’s engineering and rail consortium Deutsche Bank .