Iran General NewsTotal to end Iran fuel sale if US passes...

Total to end Iran fuel sale if US passes sanctions

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ImageReuters: Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on Monday the European oil major will cease gasoline sales to Iran if the United States passed legislation to penalise fuel suppliers exporting to Tehran. By Simon Webb

ImageKUWAIT, April 26 (Reuters) – Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on Monday the European oil major will cease gasoline sales to Iran if the United States passed legislation to penalise fuel suppliers exporting to Tehran.

Total was currently delivering only small amounts of fuel to the Islamic republic, he told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

With the U.S. pushing for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear work, several of the world's top oil firms and trading houses have already curbed fuel sales to pre-empt potential penalisation of their U.S. operations.

Under bills that have passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, but which must still be combined into one, companies worldwide which supply gasoline to Iran would be largely prevented from doing business with the U.S.

Due to a chronic lack of refining capacity, the world's fifth largest crude exporter has to import at least 30 percent of its gasoline needs — making it vulnerable to any future sanctions that could interrupt that vital inflow.

TOTAL IRAQ INVESTMENT

Margerie said the political situation in Iraq at present had not slowed down work on the Halfaya oilfield project.

"For the time being no, when there will be a new government we will see," Margerie said.

"For the time being we are working in the spirit of what has been decided by the existing government and by the rules of the bids."

China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) is the majority partner in the oilfield and Total owns an 18.75 percent stake in the field.

Iraq, which has the world's third largest oil proven reserves, signed a final contract earlier this year to develop Halfaya with CNPC, Total and Malaysian state firm Petronas.

Halfaya, in southern Iraq, has estimated reserves of 4.1 billion barrels of oil.

The field could help turn Iraq into one of the world's three biggest oil producers and earn Iraq billions of dollars it needs to rebuild after decades of war, sanctions and economic decline.

The deals emerging from two oil contract auctions could raise Iraqi output capacity in seven years to 12 million barrels per day (bpd), rivalling top producer Saudi Arabia, from around 2.5 million bpd now.

But Iraq's oil minister has raised questions over the planned expansion as Baghdad considers OPEC output curbs that may keep supply well short of ambitious capacity targets.

Margerie said Total was also in talks with Kuwait over developing a joint-venture refinery and petrochemical plant in China.

(Reporting by Simon Webb; editing by Michael Hogan)

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