Indian firms doing oil business with Iran: US report

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil India Limited (OIL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), ONGC Videsh Ltd and Petronet LNG, have been mentioned as those doing business with Iran in a 23-page report addressed to Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The report was made public Thursday, the day on which the House of Representatives voted to appoint Senators to serve on conference committees. These committee representatives will interact with their Senate counterparts and zero in on one compromise sanction bill against Iran for passage within weeks.

This is being done because there were differences in the versions of the bill passed by the House in December and the House in January."Using open source of information, we identified 23 firms as having commercial activity in the development of Iran's natural gas resources. For example, Hinduja of the United Kingdom and ONGC of India reportedly signed an agreement in December 2009 for a 40 percent stake in developing phase 12 of Iran's massive South Pars offshore gas field, a project estimated to cost 7.5 billion dollars," said the report.

However, Hinduja's in a letter dated March 5, 2010, told the GAO that it was not the one cited by its sources.According to the report, IOC is part of the consortium that is exploring the Farsi block and has submitted a 2009 plan to develop the Farzad-B natural gas field over a period of 7-8 years.

There has been no response from IOC to the queries sent by it, the GAO said.
In 2009, a majority of members of Congress sponsored the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009, which would impose sanctions against firms that export gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran.

Further, based on its review of open source information, the GAO identified 41 foreign firms that had commercial activity in the development of the Iranian oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors from 2005 to 2009.

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