Iran, BP Restart Joint Gas Field in North Sea

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – BP recommenced production at the Rhum gas field in the UK North Sea, half-owned by Iran's National Oil Company, nearly four years after the oil major was forced to halt output because of sanctions against Tehran.

Iran, BP Restart Joint Gas Field in North Sea

The oil group confirmed on Friday that gas had begun to flow out of the Rhum field, 250 miles off Scotland’s northeast coast, which until its closure in November 2010 had been contributing around 4-5 per cent of Britain’s total gas output.

A thaw in diplomatic relations between Western governments and Iran led to permission in October last year from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for production to begin once more at Rhum, Financial Times reported on Saturday.

However technical difficulties and safety concerns have led to a delay of a year for output to resume.

Rhum is half owned and operated by BP, but the Iranian Oil Company has a 50 per cent stake in the field, which was discovered in 1977.

BP said it would take two to three days for gas flows from the field to feed though Rhum’s platform systems to allow for eventual delivery.

The oil company is expecting initial output at Rhum to be held at 50m cubic feet per day. The field’s peak output capacity had initially been expected to reach 300m cubic feet per day.

“The government supports the resumption of production at Rhum, which is necessary to avoid potential environmental damage and will prevent the possible destruction of the value of the field and its important contribution to the UK’s annual gas production,” DECC said.

Revenues owed to Iran from renewed production at Rhum will be held, for now, by the British government in a frozen account until a full resolution over sanctions emerges, according to the report.

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