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BP Suspends Work on Rhum Gas Field

May 24/ 11:54

New York. BP has stopped work on Rhum Gas Field in the North Sea, which it shares with the National Iranian Oil Company and holds a 50% stake. The company cited the reintroduction of US sanctions against Tehran as the reason for the suspension. It agreed to sell its stake in Rhum to another UK-based company, Serica Energy.

The Independent noted that 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, Oil Price reported.

"BP always complies with applicable sanctions," the company declared. Both BP and Serica are in talks with British and American authorities to make sure they are not in breach of the sanctions announced on May 8 as US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of Iran's nuclear deal.

BP discovered the Rhum field in the 1970s. Production was suspended in the early 2000s, as the US and several European countries imposed sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.

Headed by chief executive Robert Dudley, BP struck a deal with the smaller Serica to sell its 50% stake in the field for $400 million. At present, BP operates the field under a license granted to it by the Office of Foreign Asset Control—the US Treasury Department’s sanction-enforcement division—which was renewed last September and will expire and the end of September this year. The BP-Serica deal is going according to plan, seen to wrap in the third quarter of the year. A condition for the successful completion of the acquisition was Serica getting its own license from OFAC.

Reuters reported earlier that the company is still awaiting one.

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