Dec 20, 2017, 9:10 PM
News Code: 82770542
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British company hints readiness to invest in Iran oil industry

London, Dec 20, IRNA - Serica energy who have recently acquired Rhum field from BP, which is a field co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran’s national oil company, expressed readiness to invest and expand its cooperation in Iran's oil industry.

In an interview with IRNA, ‘Tony Craven Walker’ Chairman of Serica Energy said that his company “could contribute a lot to the Iranian objectives for increasing productions'.

He added that if Rhum project goes well, then his company will be looking to expand trade relationship with Iran.

Citing lifting of sanctions after JCPOA, he said: 'The nuclear deal has removed all sanctions as they apply to Iran from Europe, so we are open and free to deal with Iran and we are delighted of this.'

Asked about the status of Rhum field developments, Walker said: 'Recently we have announced the purchase of three fields from BP, one of which is the Rhum field in which IOC (Iran Oil Company) is a partner; but the objective for us to find ways of increasing production, reducing the cost and extending the life of these fields. We will be doing this in partnership with existing partners, including IOC.'

The process now is to ensure that the existing partners are happy with our plans for operating which is going to take a little while, said Walker.

He said: 'There are several companies involved here and we are talking to all of them. But I am pretty sure they will all be very happy with our plan. So far all the responses I’ve had, had been they are happy, therefore we got to demonstrate that we can do the operations.'

Adding that almost 120 technicians will be joining the project, Walker added: That’s a quite big transition itself, that will be taking few month, so the completion of the deal won’t happen until the middle of next year when we are ensured that all the people, and equipments are transferred across.

In the meantime he said, 'We will be working with the existing partners which includes IOC, BP and OGA (the British government energy authority) to make sure that everything is very smoothly transferred.'

Citing that Rhum field provides 5 percent of British gas supply, he said that Serica and IOC would like to extend the life of this field and increase the production rates.

'We are hoping to extend the life of the field to 5 years beyond its existing date which is around 2023 we can extend it to 2027 -28,' Walker said.

Asked about the effect of the US sanctions on this project he said: Rhum field is a gas field in British territory just off the coast in Aberdeen. Serica and BP are both British companies; 'so we are not ourselves affected at all by US sanctions' directly.

“We are indirectly affected,” he said adding: 'We have to occasionally buy equipment from the US companies and the US sanctions restrict the sale of equipment for use in connection with Iranian project.

Walker stressed that his company could get a licence from the US, and said that they have already applied for one, to be able to use the US equipment in specific circumstances.

But these equipments, he said, only affect a few specific areas of the operation and it doesn’t influence the overall result of the project.

Asked how much he is optimistic about getting US licence, he said: 'As I said Rhum is a British gas field so it is highly unlikely the US won’t give us permission. But under US framework we try not to use US contractors, which is rather strange but that’s what they want and that’s what we will be doing.'

Reporter: Hadi Naderi: IRNA correspondent to the UK

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