French major Total on 20 August confirmed its withdrawal from a $4.8bn 20-year deal to develop the 2bn cfd Phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars gas field (MEES, 7 July 2017), saying it was unable to secure a waiver from US sanctions (MEES, 10 August). Total, as operator with 50.1%, said in May it had spent only $40mn on the project thus far. Though widely expected, the exit deals a symbolic blow to Iran, which had hoped Total’s entry would lead to further deals with western majors and large IOCs.

CNPC has the option to take over Total’s share, increasing its stake from 30% to 80.1% (local firm Petropars has 19.9%), but the Chinese state firm has so far remained quiet. (CONTINUED - 115 WORDS)