Britain blocks Iran’s gas revenues

TEHRAN, Sep. 14 (MNA) – Deputy oil minister said Britain has deposited Iran’s share of Rhum gas field revenues into NIOC’s account though the amount is frozen for the time being.

Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ali Kardor touched upon the latest status for release of funds earned by partnership of BP and Iranian Oil Company UK Ltd., a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, in Rhum gas field saying “negotiations with the British side for the release of funds are still underway.”

The official stated that the financial resources for Iran’s participation have been credited to NIOC’s account asserting “at present, the Iranian side is not able to withdraw the amount from its account.”

Referring to collection of Iran’s oil revenues from other indebted world refineries, Karder said almost all debts have been settled as no major indebted refinery exists.

NIOC managing director further underlined that Indian refineries are not indebted to NIOC though India is retiring its debts to the Iranian government and Central Bank of Iran.

In 2005, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Britain’s largest oil firm BP launched a 656-million-dollar cooperation producing gas at the offshore gas field of Rhum in Scotland.

BP and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) jointly share the Rhum gas field with an equal share distribution of 50 percent.

After five years of gas extraction from the joint gas field with a daily production of about 190 million cubic meters, operations were suspended at the field in November 2010 after the EU introduced sanctions against Iran.

According to the estimates provided by BP, the Rhum field contains 800 billion cubic feet of gas and accounts for about 5% of the UK’s annual gas production.

Meanwhile, Iran’s shares of the revenues from the field are currently frozen in an account in London under the sanctions regime though the UK resumed gas production in the field around three years ago.

In late 2015, Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for International and Commerce Affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia met with the UK’s Chargé d’Affaires to Iran Ajay Sharma and told to reporters that UK is ready to pay Iran’s share of the Rhum gasfield after the removal of sanctions.

Following his later meeting with UK’s trade envoy to Iran and chairman of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce Lord Norman Lamont, Zmaninia said “Britain has pledged to help provide Iran with revenues made from sales of natural gas from the Rhum gas field in the North Sea which the country jointly shares with British Petroleum (BP).”

Iran’s deputy oil minister further emphasized that Lord Lamont had told him that the British energy companies including Shell and BP have voiced interest in investing in Iran’s oil and gas projects.

By Mehr News Agency