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Iran extends new ultimatum to Shell, Repsol on Pars


TEHRAN, May 10 (Reuters) - Iran has apparently extended a new two-week ultimatum to Royal Dutch Shell and Repsol after the expiry of a one-week ultimatum issued last month. "The oil ministry has now issued an ultimatum to Shell and Repsol, holding them responsible to determine the situation surrounding contracts on South Pars phases 13 and 14 over a period of two weeks," Reza Kasaiezadeh, director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company told semi-official Mehr news agency. "We should not wait for foreign companies for the determination of the contracts on South Pars phases." On April 26 Mehr quoted Ali Vakili, managing director of the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), as saying Shell and Repsol had one week to decide on their involvement in the South Pars gas field. Iran says both Anglo-Dutch Shell and Spain's Repsol have procrastinated on finalising their involvement in the field, the world's largest, which Iran shares with Qatar. It has set similar deadlines in the past as a way of pressuring foreign investors. Many foreign countries are investing in the field, but U.S. and U.N.

sanctions have caused Western companies to treat Iran with caution, sometimes to the benefit of operators from other parts of the world. China's National Petroleum Corporation clinched a $4.7 billion deal to develop part of South Pars, supplanting Total as lead partner in the project after the French firm delayed its investment decision under political pressure. Iran has the world's second largest gas reserves but has no major net exports, partly because sanctions have deterred investment by Western firms. Iran needs around $25 billion a year in oil and gas industry investment and could turn into an importer of oil because of the lack of such funds, Oil Minister Massou Mirkazemi said in comments reported in the daily Ettelaat on Monday. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari and Hossein Jaseb, writing by Andrew Hammond) Keywords: IRAN PARS/ULTIMATUM (Tehran newsroom, +98 21 8820 8770) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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