Iran official says gas field contract with Total, CNPC unchanged

Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop Phase 11 of South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Updated 12 August 2018

Iran official says gas field contract with Total, CNPC unchanged

  • The French company had said it would pull out unless it secured a US sanctions waiver
  • Total has not said what it would do with its 50.1 percent stake should it pull out

DUBAI: A gas field development contract with France’s Total, and China’s state-owned CNPC remains unchanged, a senior Iranian oil official said according to the oil ministry news agency SHANA on Saturday — hours after state new agency IRNA quoted him as saying CNPC had taken Total’s share in the project.
“The role of the members of the consortium developing this project is in accordance with the provisions of the contract, and there is still no formal change in these provisions,” Mohammad Mostafavi, director of investment at Iran’s state oil firm NIOC, was quoted as saying.
IRNA earlier quoted Mostafavi as saying CNPC had taken over Total’s share in Iran’s multi-billion dollar South Pars gas project. There was no explanation for the apparent discrepancy.
Total signed a contract in 2017 to develop Phase 11 of South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion, marking the first major Western energy investment in the country after sanctions were lifted in 2016. South Pars has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves ever found in one place.
But the French company had said it would pull out unless it secured a US sanctions waiver, and Gholamreza Manouchehri, deputy head of NIOC, said in June that if Total were to walk away, then CNPC would take over.
A spokeswoman for Total declined to comment.
Total has not said what it would do with its 50.1 percent stake should it pull out, and it has until Nov. 4 to wind down its Iran operations.
The renewed US sanctions were among those lifted under a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in May. Washington is planning to impose heavier sanctions in November aimed at Iran’s oil sector.
There was no immediate comment on the IRNA report by CNPC, which held a 30 percent stake in the project. The remainder is held by Iran’s Petropars.


HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

Updated 18 min 32 sec ago

HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

  • HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020
  • The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management

PARIS/LONDON: HSBC France said on Wednesday its teams will leave a prestigious headquarters on Paris' Champs Elysees avenue by 2020 in an emblematic move ahead of the planned sale of its retail business in the country.
The exit and planned sale, following a strategic review of the group's French retail activities, are part of a broader cost-cutting effort under interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn.
"HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020 to 38 av Kleber, 500 meters away from its actual headquarters that was sold in 2010," the bank said in a statement.
The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management.
Another 500 employees will be moved to HSBC's hub in La Defense business district which now houses 4,000 of the bank's employees and to branches close to the Champs Elysees building.
HSBC France sold its headquarters at 103 avenue Champs Elysees, and a building in front of it at 15 rue Vernet, to Qatari investors and has rented them since then.
The move is necessitated because the owner wants to regain control of the buildings and also because HSBC needs to save money, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Office rents in Paris are rising to levels not seen since at least 2003, according to Immostat data, as vacancy rates are at record lows.
HSBC inherited the historic headquarters when it bought the French retail operations of Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) in 2000.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was a hotel where World War One spy and exotic dancer Mata Hari was arrested.
HSBC Holdings has hired U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd to sell its French retail business, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Quinn is expected to unveil the first details of his strategic overhaul of the bank when it reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 28.
Quinn is auditioning for the full-time CEO job and insiders said he is under pressure to take decisive action after Chairman Mark Tucker indicated his predecessor John Flint had not moved quickly enough to turn around the lender's performance.