TEHRAN, May 08 (ISNA)-These days many rumors are circling around the French giant, Total and its activities in Iran. In an Interview with this company's representative in Iran, Pierre Fabiani, ISNA asked about some of these rumors and the future of this company in Iran. Excerpts:
ISNA: These days aside from the rumors that Total paid an extra payment in addition to the contract number so to gain the South Pars project, there are rumors that Total is delaying the Pars LNG project due to an excuse that prices have increased; what's your opinion regarding the current situation?
Fabiani: There are no problems on Total's side; we are firm on our decision to stay and activate in Iran. The current problem we are facing is in the South Pars LNG project's 11th phase. These problems are all financial and are not only related to the Iran or the region, but include the total glob.
ISNA: Do you think in the end, the contractor should undertake the responsibility of these extra prices or is it Iran which should pay for the extra expenses?
Fabiani: I must remind you that we cooperate with Iran's national oil company and we do not stand against each other; we are both on the same side. Therefore conditions and expenses are equally broke down. We are trying hard to resolve the current problems and find a solution.
ISNA: If the final decision regarding the execution of the Pars LNG project is to be made four months from now, then when will this project be completed and ready for utilization?
Fabiani: If this decision is made within these four months, the first product of this project will be delivered to the market by 2011.
ISNA: If the decision is not made, would Total leave this project?
Fabiani: No, there is no need to leave this project. We are currently working on this project and are following this issue seriously. We have executed many other LNG projects and we well know that these projects take time.
ISAN: Total has been among the companies which have ignored all pressures imposed by West and especially the U.S. on them regarding their cooperation with Iran; what is Total's policy regarding Iran? Do you think that Total's decision will influence other companies' decisions too?
Fabiani: I believe that many other smaller companies when seeing our presence in Iran will trust this path and follow us. I also believe that many LNG consumers after seeing Total's name will place stronger steps forward. We stay in Iran, because this is our job; every country has its own problems.
ISNA: Are you worried about the possible sanction placed against Iran's oil and gas?
Fabiani: No, we concentrate on our job and are vigilant regarding the events which occur around us. We can not continue our activity in Iran illegally. Our current activities in Iran are completely legal and we are determined to continue our activities. Iran has many resources of gas and oil and to be honest we want to stay.
ISAN: In the case of a sanction what will happen to the project?
Fabiani: We believe that this will not happen and we will try to continue our activities in Iran. Placing a sanction on Iran's oil industry is very improbable. They did it in the 1950s, because back then this technology was only in the hands of a few, but today this can not be done because so many possess this technology and others will not follow the group which is placing the sanction. Maybe a sanction will be written down on paper, but the possibility of putting it into practice is very low.
ISNA: Europe is trying to reduce its gas dependence of Russia; has Iran the required potential to replace Russia for Europe?
Fabiani: Of course Iran can, but this matter will not happen in the near future.
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