Press TV - Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari says Iran will develop the South Pars energy field with or without French energy giant Total.
"This is our message: we will proceed with development with or without them."
The Minister's comment was a reaction to remarks by Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie to the Financial Times that Total will not go ahead with development of the huge South Pars gas field because it is politically 'risky'.
Total was to invest in a project to develop Phase 11 of Iran's South Pars-the biggest world gas field-along with Malaysia's Petronas but pulled out of the major LNG deal under political pressure.
Total is the third company to withdraw from projects in Iran under pressure from Washington, after Royal Dutch Shell and Repsol YPF of Spain.
"We can construct the pipeline in our land with our investments to reach the border, while Europeans, like Austria and Switzerland can do the same from their lands to reach Iran's borders without facing investment obstacles," Nozari said.
Some western analysts opined that Total's pull out from South Pars project is a major blow to Iran's effort to raise its gas exports significantly before late in the next decade.
But the loss of a potential increase in Iran's gas exports creates a problem for the wider world not just Iran, the Financial Times said.
Iran's gas supply loss of about 80 bcm a year creates a huge hole in the potential gas supply while demand for natural gas is rising much faster than supply, it concluded.
Chairman of PFC Energy consulting firm, Robin West also said that "Supplying gas markets may become as big a challenge as supplying oil markets. Removing Iran from export markets will accelerate this problem."
"A 56-inch-diameter pipeline will be extended to Iran's border point of Bazargan to boost gas exports to Turkey and Europe," said Iranian Deputy Minister Seyyed Reza Kasaeizadeh.
He expressed hope that the project would soon be put out to tender, saying that the 420-kilometer pipeline is of paramount importance for Iran.
Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari announced on Sunday that Ankara and Tehran are negotiating on an increase in natural gas exports to Turkey and on supplying the country with more gas during the winter.
"During the Jeddah OPEC summit, the two countries discussed terms for a joint venture to lay a natural gas pipeline extending from the South Pars gas field to the Bazargan border," Nozari said.
Iran possesses the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia. Many energy analysts and officials believe Iran can be a reliable energy supplier to Europe. Turkey has been a consumer of Iranian gas since 2001.
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