Iran's Navy Attacks and Boards Romanian Rig in Gulf

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Iran attacked and seized control of a Romanian oil rig working in its Persian Gulf waters this morning one week after the Iranian government accused the European drilling company of hijacking another rig. An Iranian naval vessel fired on the rig owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) in the Salman field and took control of its radio room, a Grup's representative in the United Arab Emirates said.

Iran, which holds the world's second-largest oil and gas reserves, is due to respond to a European Union-led offer of incentives aimed at persuading it to halt uranium enrichment activities that are crucial to its nuclear program. Neither the press office of Iran's oil ministry nor the one of Iran's revolutionary guards could be reached for comment when called. Today is a national holiday in Iran.

Crude oil for September was at $72.56 a barrel, up 11 cents. The contract expires today. The more-active October contract was up 7 cents at $73.37 a barrel.

Grup said it recovered its rig last week because of a contractual dispute with its Iranian client, Oriental Oil Kish. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suspended Oriental Oil's activities in 2005 on alleged corruption activity and ties to Halliburton Co. of the U.S. The U.A.E.-registered drilling company had signed a preliminary contract with Halliburton after winning an estimated $310 million contract to develop phases 9 and 10 of Iran's offshore South Pars gas reservoir. Source: Bloomberg

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