Top oil execs: “Lift Iran sanctions”

According to the CEOs of two of Europe’s top oil companies, Peter Voiser and Christophe de Margerie, who are the chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell and Total respectively, it is essential to lift sanctions and open up Iran’s oil and gas resources in order to meet the world’s energy requirements in the future.

Speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London this week, the two CEOs highlighted the potential energy windfall if sanctions preventing international oil companies from dealing with Tehran were lifted, according to the Telegraph.

Mr Voser noted that in the long term, Iran’s oil and gas resources “will have to be developed to meet demand”, while Mr de Margerie said that he hoped doing business with Iran would again be permitted as soon as possible. He claimed that this was not just for the benefit of Total, but for the world and for Iran, observing that “any country cannot stay out of the system”.

Shell and Total were previously two of the most active petroleum companies doing business in Iran, before sanctions were tightened against the Islamic republic in the late 2000s. In 1999, Shell defied a US sanctions threat to sign an estimated $800m deal with Iran to develop two offshore oil fields in the Persian Gulf: Soroosh and Nowrooz. Total had also been involved in the development of Iran’s South Pars natural gas field until 2009.

Iran has previously claimed that it would allow access to its nuclear program if the US lift its economic sanctions: a recent phone call between Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani has raised hopes. The EU extended sanctions to include gas exports and shipbuilding this year, which followed an oil embargo imposed in July. Shell was reportedly blocked this year from paying a $2.3 billion debt with Iran through the supply of grain and medicine.

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