Rhum Gas Field Dues to Be Collected Soon

Rhum Gas Field Dues to Be Collected Soon
Rhum Gas Field Dues to Be Collected Soon

Iran will receive its blocked revenues from gas sales at the Rhum gas field in the North Sea "within a few weeks", Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamaninia said.

Several rounds of negotiations have been held with BP and the UK Embassy in Tehran and "the British side is ready and willing to settle the debt," Zamaninia was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.

Rhum Gas Filed in the North Sea

Rhum gas field in the North Sea is shared equally between BP and the Iranian Oil Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company. But gas production from the field was stopped in 2010 in relation to international sanctions against Iran.

The field started pumping gas in December 2005 and cost $565 million to build. The British government had reportedly negotiated with the US and European Union for an exemption from sanctions imposed on Iran, so that it would be able to continue its cooperation with NIOC at Rhum.

However, Iran was forced to abandon the project due to tighter sanctions over the nuclear program dispute.

Zamaninia did not mention the amount of the debt, but said it is "no more than a few hundred million dollars".

Difficulties in transacting through major European banks had deterred the payment.

Stressing that unnamed foreign banks have expressed willingness to help transfer the money to an NIOC account, Zamaninia said the debt "will be paid in full in the shortest time possible."

As part of efforts to put British companies back on Iran’s business map, Lord Lamont, who chairs the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, had earlier discussed the banking problems  and ways to facilitate the payment to Iran from the gas field.

According to Ali Kardor, managing director of NIOC, most of the oil dues have been cleared.

The Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, Italian oil refiner Saras, Greece’s biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum and Essar Oil, the top Indian buyer of Iranian oil have already cleared their debts.

Crude Exports to UK

According to Mohsen Qamsari, director of international affairs at the NIOC, Iran sold its first cargo of gas condensate and crude oil to the UK in October.

"A cargo of one million barrels of gas condensate and crude was delivered to BP," he noted.

Underscoring that the two cargoes have been exported under single-shipment contracts, Qamsari noted that negotiations are underway to sign long-term oil export contracts with BP and Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil major.

Negotiations with Shell on the mechanism and volume of long-term oil sale deals are yet to be finalized.


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