Austria’s energy giant OMV says it plans to cease its operations in Iran amid growing signs that the United States is preparing to re-impose sanctions against the country.
According to Press TV, OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele told Reuters that his company planned to conclude a seismic studies project in Iran but would not pursue projects further.
“Let’s face it, you cannot simply carry on in Iran,” he said. “US sanctions are a much bigger risk for OMV’s business than any possible compensation that Europe … could offer.”
Last month, US President Donald Trump said he would pull Washington out of a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Trump also said he would launch mechanisms to re-impose what he described as the “highest level of sanctions” against Iran.
The sanctions would include a universal ban on Iran over buying or acquiring US dollars as well as restrictions over purchases of crude oil from the country and investing in its oil sector projects.
OMV started operations in Iran in 2001 as operator of the Mehr exploration block in the west of the country. It halted work in 2006 due to sanctions, but signed several basic agreements for new projects when the 2015 deal was reached, Reuters added further in its report.
The Austrian energy group will now join several other major European companies that have announced they would abandon their Iran investment plans as a result of Trump’s plans to re-impose sanctions against Iran.
They include France’s Total that had signed a deal with Iran to invest in a multi-billion project to develop a gas field in southern Iran. However, it has announced that it would pull out of the project.