FRENCH oil giant Total has pulled out of Iran and scrapped plans for a billion-dollar project in the country as new US sanctions on Tehran continue to bite.
The energy firm’s departure was announced by Iran’s oil minister who reportedly told state media the company is leaving in response to threats from Washington to sanction companies that do business with the Islamic republic.
Total had agreed to develop phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars gas field - the largest natural gas field in the world.
But the firm had previously signalled it would abandon the £740million ($1billion) project unless it could secure waiver which would allow it to continue the project free from the threat of sanctions.
Total’s departure comes as a huge blow to Iran and is the first major energy scheme to be scuppered by US sanctions.
Iran has hinted China’s state-owned CNPC could step in to take over Total’s stake in the scheme.
Revealing the departure of the French firm today, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told Iranian state media: "Total Iran has officially left the contract to develop the South Pars Gas project's phase 11.
The oil giant’s withdrawal comes after President Donald Trump announced the US was pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on the Islamic republic.