BP ready to pay off Iran’s debts

News ID: 3843658 -
TEHRAN, Dec. 07 (MNA) – Deputy oil minister has announced that British Petroleum (BP) is ready to settle debts to Iran though the process has been hindered due to banking issues.

Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia said several negotiations have been conducted so far between Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UK’s BP on receiving Iran's share in Rhum gas field.

The official highlighted that the British firm has voiced complete readiness to retire its gas debts to Iran asserting “the main cause of the lengthy delay in collecting Iran’s revenues pertain to certain banking barriers.”

He underlined that grounds have been provided through foreign banks and the debt is estimated to be cleared in the days to come.

On the amount of BP’s debt to Iran, Zamaninia maintained that the gas debt figure is not significant and barely reaches several hundred million dollars all of which will be repaid in the near future.

Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ali Kardor had previously 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 Britain has deposited Iran’s share of Rhum gas field revenues into NIOC’s account though the amount is frozen for the time being.

The official had 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.”

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.

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