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Iran Says Door Still Open To Shell But Repsol Pulled Out


JUNE 26, 2010

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Iran is leaving the door open to Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSB, RDSA.LN, RDSB.LN) to join a giant gas project but Repsol YPF (REP, REP.MC) has completely pulled out, a top government official said Friday.

The statement comes after state-owned Pars Oil and Gas Co. awarded contracts to develop phases 13 and 14 of the South Pars field to domestic companies after talks with Shell and Repsol came to no avail.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires, Hojatollah Ghanimifard, vice president in charge of investment affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co., said the Anglo-Dutch company has been told to contact POGC so “they will be introduced to contractors” with whom they could work. Shell declined to comment.

But Ghanimifard said Repsol has “apologized” as “they cannot be in Persian LNG,” the liquefied-natural-gas project tied to the phases.

A spokeswoman for Repsol said it “has formally informed the National [Iranian] Oil Company (NIOC) of its decision to discontinue its participation.”

Ghanimifard said Shell and Repsol’s decisions had nothing to do with sanctions. He said Repsol’s pullout was tied to the financial crisis in Spain. It’s “because of problems the country [Spain] cannot sort out,” the official said.

He also pointed out that Shell previously signed and completed oil-field deals after the Clinton administration tightened sanctions on Iran in 1996.

-By Benoit Faucon, Dow Jones Newswires; [email protected]; 44 20 7842 9266

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