SAN RAMON, Calif., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. does not engage with discussions with Iranian officials because of existing U.S. law, a spokesperson said.
Iran is vetting interest from European energy companies examining the post-sanctions options in the country. European sanctions are easing in the wake of a breakthrough July nuclear agreement. U.S. sanctions remain in place.
Chevron spokesperson Erika Conner said in response to email questions U.S. sanctions prohibit the company from following its European counterparts into Iran.
"We remain in strict compliance with existing U.S. and international laws, and regulatory frameworks that govern commercial activity with Iran," she said. "Chevron acts in full compliance with U.S. law and does not engage in discussions with Iran."
Iran said it could become the second largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, after Saudi Arabia, within seven or eight months of sanctions relief. Production during the pre-sanctions area was around 3 million barrels per day.
U.S. President Barack Obama has the Senate support needed to overcome dissent over the nuclear agreement from majority Republicans. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., helped secure consent on Capitol Hill, saying that while no deal is perfect, "especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime," the one negotiated with multilateral powers in July is the best option on the table.
OPEC, in a monthly newsletter, said Iran is expected to start up dozens of oil and gas projects, worth an estimated $185 billion, by the end of the year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this week in Philadelphia sanctions may sting both ways.
"We need to remember sanctions don't just sting in one direction, my friends," he said. "They also impose costs on those who forego the commercial opportunities in order to abide by them."
Chevron's spokesperson said the company was reviewing the multilateral agreement in order to understand what it means for the oil industry and companies involved.
"In the meantime, we remain in strict compliance with existing U.S. and international laws and regulatory frameworks that govern commercial activity with Iran," she said.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said the country could increase net oil production by more than 1.5 million bpd, bringing total production for the Islamic republic to just over 4 million bpd as sanctions pressures ease.