Total chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne told the Oil & Money conference in London this morning on 18 October that the French energy firm is committed to its deal with Iran but will wait and see how recent developments including US President Donald Trump’s hardline statement about Iran affects companies operating in the Islamic republic.

Total is the first Western oil major to sign an agreement with Iran to develop phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars, the world’s largest gas field. Total is the operator of the $5bn project with a 50.1 percent stake.

“We are a pioneer in Iran and we are committed but we are going step by step,” Pouyanne told the conference. “We were right to do that. We have demonstrated we are the right partner (for Iran). We have to look to the fact that we have government by rules”.

“We have signed a contract,” Pouyanne said. “If the environment changes we shall see.”

Pouyanne said in an interview with International Oil Daily published on 17 October that Total would examine the consequences of Trump’s decision to decertify America’s support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme.

“If Iran is compliant, if the European Union and China and Russia continue to consider that the JCPOA can be applied, then that means the US would have to take unilateral sanctions…,” Pouyanne said in the interview.

“But we will try on our side to obtain the comfort that we can continue the project, which will be our priority,” he added.

US congress has about two months to decide whether to reinstate sanctions. Pouyanne said Total was weighing its options and all would depend on congress and if it decides to reinstate the sanctions, and what kinds of sanctions.