Total looks to US permit to start Iran plans

France’s energy giant Total is soliciting permission from US authorities to implement a slew of projects worth several billion dollars in Iran.

The biggest of all is Iran’s plans to develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field with $4 billion of investment, in which Total seeks a 50% stake.

The company inked a preliminary agreement with Iran last year, but it is looking to Washington for authorization to finalize it.

International firms have been cautious in their dealings with Iran despite the lifting of sanctions early last year because of fears of being blacklisted by the US.

Total became the first Western oil major to sign an energy agreement with Iran after the European Union and the United States undertook to lift sanctions on the Islamic Republic under a nuclear deal signed in July 2016.

The company helped Iran develop phases 2 and 3 of South Pars in the 2000s, before pulling out of the country after Western sanctions were imposed in 2011.

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