U.S. threatens oil company with operations in Iran

StatoilThe U.S. Congress will sharpen the reaction to oil companies operating in Iran, and among those named in a new report, Statoil.

House of Representatives and the Senate has voted to tighten sanctions against the company that operates in the oil and gas sector in Iran and is now beginning to align their bill.

Congressional investigation agency Government Account Ability Office has commissioned from the two senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl investigated the company has operations in Iran, and laid recently presented its report .

41 foreign companies listed in the report, including Norwegian Statoil, Denmark Haldor Topsoe and Swedish-Swiss ABB.

Tougher stance

“We must clearly take a tougher stance on companies that may be linked to Iran’s capacity to produce refined petroleum, said the Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand to The New York Times on Friday.

She is among those who for a long time, was eager to increase pressure on foreign companies that help with investments and expertise to the Iranian oil and gas sector, and she argues that the revenue from this sector to finance the country’s disputed nuclear program.

“Companies that profit from Iran’s nuclear ambitions should not be allowed to do business with the United States or benefit of U.S. economy, the final sentence, she says.

More contracts

One of the companies who risk being hit, the group has offices and operations in Iran.

Statoil signed a 2002 contract to be the operator for the development of gas and condensate field South Pars 6, 7 and 8 in the Persian Gulf.

The last platform began production in 2009 and assists the group remains the Iranian oil company NIOC has taken over as operator.

Statoil has also taken part ii exploration and drilling activities on the Anaran field in the Zagros Mountains and has an untapped exploration license in Khorram Abad field.

Nothing new

“There is nothing new regarding our activities in Iran since last summer, we informed you that we, given the current situation will not make new investments in the country,” said information officer Kjersti T. Morstøl.

“Statoil has always been open with the American authorities on all aspects of our business, also associated with Iran. We have updated regularly, and our impression is that American authorities have found the information satisfactory,” she said.

Stopped after threats

GAO sign indeed that the group ceased operations on the Anaran field in 2007 and concluded in his report that this happened as a result of threats of sanctions from the United States.

GAO also detects that the group has invested in Iran since 2008, but calls for a more detailed explanation from the company.

Morstøl sorry that the group has not responded to the request from the GAO, saying that this was a miss.

“When it GAO report cam out, so it looks sadly as if there has been a misunderstanding in the mail exchanges with Government Account Ability Office. We are made aware of and have now submitted the relevant information, “she said.

Corruption

Statoil has also previously been in the U.S. spotlight after it was revealed in 2003 how the company had secured a contract in Iran by smearing the son of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The U.S. Securities (SEC), Department of Justice in Washington and U.S. prosecutors opened an investigation, and in 2006 was entered into a settlement.

The settlement meant that the group accepted a fine of more than 60 million for violating U.S. anti-corruption legislation.

Økokrim in Norway gave Statoil a fine of 20 million in the same case.

Source: Aftenbladet

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