Total signs agreement with Iran

French energy company signs framework deal to purchase Iranian crude oil.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Jan. 29, 2016 at 8:20 AM
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PARIS, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said it signed a framework agreement to purchase crude oil from Iran during the Iranian president's trade visit to Paris.

Total Chairman Patrick Pouyanne met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose trade mission to Europe marks the first for an Iranian president in more than a decade.

"The meeting was followed by the signature of a memorandum of understanding between Total and the National Iranian Oil Company as well as framework agreement for the purchase of crude oil, in particular for French and European refineries," the French company said in a statement. "Following the MOU, NIOC will provide the technical data on some gas and oil projects, so that Total can assess potential developments in Iran."

Iranian economic doors to Europe have opened in the wake of the declaration that it had met the terms of a multilateral nuclear agreement brokered in July. Delegates from European energy majors were said to have been in Tehran earlier this month to review the potential for closer ties.

Iran's president has worked to diversify a national economy burdened by lower crude oil pressures and sanctions still in place. In statements from Paris, the president said there were few obstacles to establishing strong economic links with France.

"Energy, oil, gas, agriculture, modern technology, automobile industry, mining, telecommunications, modernization of air fleet and railways, and tourism cooperation along with scientific, political, and regional collaboration are appropriate opportunities for joint ventures," he said.

Access to the Iranian economy remains restricted by mostly U.S. sanctions, which limit the mechanisms for financial transactions. Nuclear-related sanctions have eased, though pressure remains in response to Iran's military and human rights record.

Iran, nevertheless, continues to break into the European market. Airbus announced from Paris it signed an agreement with Iran Air for 118 new aircraft for the single-aisle A320 line.

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