DUBAI, July 29 (Reuters) - Iran looked ahead to working closely with French energy company Total, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told the Shana agency after a meeting in Tehran with France’s foreign minister on Wednesday.
“A new chapter of cooperation with the French company Total will begin to develop Iranian oil fields,” Shana quoted Zanganeh as saying after a meeting with Laurent Fabius.
“Total was active in developing Iranian oil projects for more than 20 years (before sanctions)... the door is again open for this company’s activities in developing oil fields.”
Fabius was in Tehran for a one-day visit in which he met senior ministers and conveyed an invitation from French President Francois Hollande to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to visit Paris in November.
“Today’s talks about oil and energy were very positive and I hope the results will also be satisfactory,” Shana quoted Fabius as saying.
Total had been involved in the development of Iran’s giant South Pars gas field, which holds about half of Iran’s gas reserves, but the project had been overshadowed by haggling over contract terms.
Under pressure from the French and U.S. government, the French company eventually stopped all production in Iran in 2010.
In an interview to Russian media, Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne had said the group was looking at opportunities in liquefied natural gas projects, but that Total’s participation would depend on the terms offered by Tehran to foreign investors.
Iran plans to hold its major post-sanction oil and gas conference in London this December, where a senior delegation will discuss new contract terms. [www.iranoilgas-summit.com/ ]
A spokeswoman for Total had no immediate comment. (Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; editing by William Hardy)