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US and European sanctions that have been in place against Iran since 2010 in an effort to restrict the country’s economy and force them to open serious talks about the true nature of their nuclear expansion plan, are also affecting other countries as collateral damage. The UK is one such country suffering as a result of the sanctions against Iran.
The Rhum field in the North Sea once produced five percent of Great Britain’s natural gas output, but due to the fact that it is jointly owned by BP and the National Iranian Oil Co., it was affected by the sanctions and production had to be suspended in 2010.
Britain now hopes that with hostile relations between Iran and the West finally beginning to cool off under the leadership of new president Hassan Rouhani they will be able to soon agree a deal that will ease the impact of the sanctions on the Rhum field, and allow production to resume once more.
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The British government hopes to be able to make an agreement with the European Union and the United States, to earn a sanctions waiver that will allow normal operations at the Rhum field.
One problem that the agreement must carefully address is the extent of the waiver. Companies that help to finance and service the fields remain worried that any waiver granted to the fields operators, would not stretch to them, protecting them from legal action potentially brought against them from their dealings with the National Iranian Oil Co.
A spokesman from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said that, “we are working to ensure the long-term security of the Rhum gas field but no decision has been made at this time on a solution.
As operator of the field our priorities are two-fold - to ensure the field remains safe and that we remain compliant with the law. It is up to the government to decide on the longer-term options.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com