LONDON Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) will take political issues into account when deciding whether to go ahead with a gas project in Iran, the company's chief financial officer said on Thursday.
The Anglo-Dutch company and Spain's Repsol (REP.MC) have signed a preliminary deal to develop part of Iran's South Pars gas field, despite Washington urging its allies not to invest in the Islamic Republic.
Shell CFO Peter Voser told a news conference on the company's earnings that the firm was working on technical and economic aspects of the project, which Tehran has valued at $10 billion (4.9 billion pounds).
"We will not take a final investment decision to move forward until all this prework has been satisfactorily completed," he said.
"Once we get to that point, we will take the economic, technical and also the political dimensions into account."
He did not say when Shell would decide on the investment. In February, Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said the assessment would be made in about a year.
The "Persian LNG" project would develop South Pars phases 13 and 14, build an eight million tonnes per annum liquefied natural gas terminal and then convert the gas to liquid for export to world markets.
Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to build an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran denies, insisting it only wants to master atomic technology so it can make electricity and save its huge oil and gas reserves for export.
Raising the pressure on Tehran, the United States on Thursday designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its elite Qods force a supporter of terrorism.