Royal Dutch Shell’s Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer said there were no plans to halt preparatory work on possible investments in Iran, despite renewed pressure about the risks of operating in a country where America has imposed economic sanctions.
As he unveiled a 20-percent rise in second-quarter profits, van der Veer said a final decision about whether to embark on the huge gas project was still 12 months away, but work would continue, Daily Telegraph reported.
Some US pension funds have written to Shell and seven other energy giants about the likely consequences of business links with Tehran at a time when worsening US-Iran relations could ‘impact companies doing business there’.
It follows veiled warnings that any investment in Iran would earn Washington’s disapproval.
But van der Veer said: "The final investment decision is at least 12 months away." In the meantime, ‘our architects will continue to do their work there’, he said.
He added rising industry costs and negotiation on deal terms had delayed a planned multi-billion dollar investment in Iran, rather than the threat of sanctions, Reuters reported.
"It is primarily project reasons…are the reasons for delay," van der Veer noted.
Shell has been in talks for years about building Iran’s first liquefied natural gas project, which would be fed by the giant South Pars gas field.
Van der Veer said Shell would consider the political environment when it had agreed a viable technical plan made more difficult by the US sanctions which preclude the use of products or services from US oil service corporations.
Shell also needs to agree financial terms with Tehran.
"We have to realize that we better make sure we make the economics of such a project right," the CEO added. "On the day that we come to make that decision we will take political considerations into account."