Total seeking to buy Iranian LNG project
According to the latest report by Reuters, Total is in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Iran’s part-completed LNG export facility, Iran LNG.
Total is seeking entry into Iran LNG at a discount to the pre-sanctions price in exchange for reviving the stalled project.
Iran shares the world’s biggest gas field with Qatar, which has used the reserves to build over a dozen giant liquefaction plants – a move Iran is keen to replicate.
The Iranian part of the field, known as South Pars, contains over 14 trillion m3 of gas.
Iran aims to grow gas output to 1 trillion m3 by 2018, up from 160.5 billion m3 in 2012, before the latest sanctions took effect.
But it currently has no ability to freeze its gas into LNG for tanker exports.
However, Total aims to commit US$2 billion to develop the 11th phase of the South Pars field this summer – supplies from which could be used to feed Iran LNG – though that investment hinges on the renewal of US sanctions waivers.
Any deal for a stake in Iran LNG would also likely face similar hurdles. An Iranian industry source with ties to Iran LNG announced that Total moved several employees to the company’s offices in Tehran last year as part of the discussions.
Work on the 10.8 million tpy plant hit a wall in 2012 when sanctions stopped Iran from bringing in specialist liquefaction technology from German contractor Linde.
With US$2.3 billion invested so far, Iran LNG is more than half-built with two storage tanks, a jetty and power plant, but total costs to bring the plant on-stream may be as high as US$10 billion.