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U.S. Grants Sanction Waiver To BP, Serica for Iran-Shared Field

The U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control has granted Serica Energy and BP a license to continue operating the Rhum field in the North Sea, which is partially owned by Iran, Serica said in a press release. The license will also allow the two companies to complete a deal under which Serica will acquire BP’s total share of the field.

The license, valid until the end of October 2019, is subject to several conditions relating to “arrangements being put in place by 4 November 2018 relating to the interest in the Rhum field held by Iranian Oil Company. These arrangements are well advanced and will provide that all benefits accruing from and relating to IOC’s interest in the Rhum field will be held in escrow for such period as U.S. sanctions apply and ensure that neither IOC nor any direct or indirect parent company of IOC will derive any economic benefit from the Rhum field during that period.”

BP, which agreed to sell its 50-percent stake in the Rhum gas field to Serica earlier this year, stopped production in May in anticipation of sanction-related developments. "BP has decided to defer some planned work on the Rhum gas field in the North Sea while we seek clarity on the potential impact on the field of recent US government decisions regarding Iran; Rhum is co-owned by an Iranian company. BP always complies with applicable sanctions," the supermajor said at the time.

Discovered by BP in the 1970s, the Rhum field once earlier experiences suspended production, during the UN sanctions against Iran that led to it dismantling its nuclear program and the signing of the so-called Iran nuclear deal that President Trump pulled out of this May.

It remains to be seen whether this waiver is an indication of a softening in Washington’s stance. While the official one has invariably been hawkish and uncompromising, there have been media reports citing government officials as saying that sanction waivers will be granted to those who need them.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mitch on October 09 2018 said:
    Europe needs gas, that isnt Russian gas. So it makes sense, as minor as it is in the big picture

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