No Gas Export Talks With Crescent

No Gas Export Talks With Crescent No Gas Export Talks With Crescent

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) has denied reports on talks with the United Arab Emirates-based energy company Crescent Petroleum to revive a troubled gas export deal, Tasnim news agency reported Tuesday.

"As the issue does not concern the NIGC, we have neither had any meetings on export of gas to the UAE nor on revising the contract with Crescent as the issue concerns the oil ministry," NIGC spokesman Majid Bojarzadeh was quoted as saying.

He reiterated that no official from the company has been involved in reported negotiations with Crescent.

Bojarzadeh’s remarks came after Fars news agency quoted an unnamed NIGC official as saying that discussions were underway with Crescent to change the terms of a 25-year contract signed in 2001.

The report added that Iran has already started planning for the exports of natural gas to the UAE. It said the key topics in fresh negotiations with the company are the same as those included in the previous deal.

“However, no specific conclusion has been reached and it is still not clear when gas exports to the UAE will start,” the report quoted unnamed NIGC official.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Crescent signed the deal for the export of gas of 17 million cubic meters of gas per day from Iran’s Salman field in the Persian Gulf to the UAE. However, the deal was suspended and became a subject of controversy in 2005.

At the heart of the issue – that is still mentioned by the media and officials as the Crescent controversy – was the gas pricing formula. Critics maintained that the price agreed in the contract was 14 times below the market price.

Crescent eventually sought an international arbitration through The Hague over its dispute with NIOC in 2009 and it claimed in 2014 that it had won the case.

The company said an international tribunal had determined that “the 25-year contract between it and NIOC was valid and binding upon the parties, and that NIOC has been obligated to deliver gas under the contract since December 2005."