French Oil Giant Total Beats Shell, BP In Race To Enter Iran

According to Gillian Rich of Investor’s Business Daily, Iran is open for business, and France’s Total (TOT) reportedly was one of the first Western companies ready to resume relations with Tehran after economic sanctions were lifted.

The oil giant will sign a deal to buy 150,000-200,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran, according to Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne in a Wall Street Journal report.

The deal comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh travel to Paris to make deals in the aerospace and auto industries.

On Thursday, Iran Air signed an agreement with Airbus (EADSY) to buy 73 widebody aircraft and 45 single-aisle jets.

Total’s U.S.-listed shares closed up 1.8% in the stock market today, as oil prices continued to rally. U.S. shares of Airbus rose 1.3%.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) has also said it is ready to get into the Iranian market. Last week, BP (BP) CEO Bob Dudley told the BBC that while the company was looking at opportunities in Iran, he was still concerned about rushing in, as some U.S. sanctions remain in place.

Shell shares rose 3.7%, and BP shares climbed 3.9%.

Earlier this week, Saipem, an Italian oil service provider, signed deals National Iranian Gas Co. and Parsian Oil & Gas Development Co.

Meanwhile, oilfield service provider Schlumberger (SLB) is also getting ready to re-enter the Iranian market. According to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month, the company is looking to buy back its former subsidiary in Iran.

Schlumberger shares jumped 6%.

Iran has said it could boost its crude exports by 500,000 barrels a day. But Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is unlikely to cut back production to make room for Tehran’s crude, meaning the global oil glut could worsen.

However, Russia’s energy ministry said Wednesday a deal to cut production with OPEC was discussed with Russian oil firms. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had said it wouldn’t cut production without a reduction from other major players like Russia. On Thursday, several OPEC officials told Bloomberg no meeting with Russia was planned.

Western corporations are eager to tap Iran’s relatively young, well-educated and tech-savvy consumers. Apple (AAPL), General Electric (GE) and Boeing (BA) are also preparing to enter or expand in Iran’s market.

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About Scott

Live next to Chevron refinery. Lots of petroleum consultants in the area. I am interested in learning more about the industry. Also, interested in finance, business, and investing in world markets.
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