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Total Ceases its Activity in Iran

Monday 20 August 2018

PARIS — French oil and gas company Total officially closed its projects in Iran and stopped working in this country in connection with the United States exit from the nuclear deal with Iran and the resumption of US sanctions against Tehran.

According to the Iranian Oil Minister, Iran is looking for a company that would replace Total, in particular for developing the large gas field South Pars. It is expected that this will be a Chinese state company.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that China, seeking to skirt U.S. sanctions, will use oil tankers from Iran for its purchases of that country’s crude, throwing Tehran a lifeline while European companies such as Total are walking away due to fear of reprisals from Washington.

China, which has cut imports of U.S. crude amid a trade war with Washington, has said it opposes unilateral sanctions and defended its commercial ties with Iran.

On Monday, sources told Reuters Chinese buyers of Iranian oil were beginning to shift their cargoes to vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) for nearly all their imports. The shift demonstrates that China, Iran’s biggest oil customer, wants to keep buying Iranian crude despite the sanctions, which were reimposed after the United States withdrew in May from a 2015 agreement to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

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