Major Oil Company Accused of Defying US Sanctions on Iran
Conoco, a leading US firm in the field of energy, has been reported to have risked being accused of breaching President Clinton’s executive ban on American involvement in Iran’s oil development by analyzing data on the huge Azadegan field, Iran Daily reported Saturday.
The US oil major “provided the technology to further appraise the volume of oil reserves” at the field in southwestern Iran, according to the Financial Times website, which cited a statement by former deputy oil minister Ali Hashemi.
The assaying of data collected by the National Iranian Oil Company during its exploration of Azadegan was said to be on the understanding that Conoco would be given priority in developing the new field once US sanctions were lifted, the paper said.
In response to the report, Conoco issued a reply on its website denying relationship with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
“Conoco has complied with US sanctions, which prevent the company from participating in the development of the Azadegan field in Iran, or from providing technology to NIOC. No agreements or understandings exist between the two companies,” said the company, adding, however, that since 1995, it has maintained a dialogue with NIOC in the anticipation that US unilateral economic sanctions will be lifted at some point, allowing the company to compete for major new business in Iran.
“In early 1999, representatives of the NIOC told Conoco that they had discovered what they believed was a very large new oil field in the Azadegan region. They offered to share seismic data with Conoco, indicating they considered us to be a potential participant in the development of the field if US sanctions were lifted. NIOC provided the seismic data to our UK subsidiary, which analyzed the information. Conoco’s opinion is that the Azadegan field has tremendous potential,” Conoco said.
It went on to say “Conoco is mindful of restrictions under US sanction's law and has at all times fully complied with the law. Conoco would be delighted to one day help NIOC develop this giant field, and believes it would be in the best interest of the United States for American companies to be involved. This is why the company has been outspoken in its opposition to unilateral sanctions.”
Conoco is headquartered in Houston, Texas. It had revenues of $27 billion in 1999, and operates in more than 40 countries. Conoco is celebrating its 125th anniversary in the year 2000. Its major business activities include: exploration and production; refining, marketing, supply and transportation, and power -- (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)