Iran criticises stalled UAE gas deal

15 September 2008
Iran’s interior minister has criticised a proposed gas deal with the UAE’s Crescent Petroleum as failing to serve the country’s interest, adding that contract talks have been stalled for 12 years.

“What is clear is that the contents of the contract do not serve Iran’s national interest,” Ali Kordan told Iran's official energy news agency Shana.

Kordan, who was previously deputy oil minister, said Iran’s Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari asked him to take charge of the Crescent deal when he was appointed as interior minister in July.

Under the proposals, 600 million cubic-feet-a-day of gas will be supplied from Iran's Salman field to Crescent.

Earlier this year, Iran vowed to use gas promised to the UAE's Crescent for its own domestic use unless a long-running argument over pricing could be resolved (MEED 16:4:08).

Iran has blamed the delay on the project with Crescent on the latter's refusal to pay a higher price for the gas. However, Crescent says a series of technical issues have been behind delays.

Crescent was set up to deliver gas to utilities and industrial customers in the UAE, but has been in negotiations over the pricing of gas from Iran for more than 18 months (MEED 18:5:07).

The deal attracted controversy in Iran in 2006, when politicians claimed Crescent was not paying enough for the gas in view of the increase in global oil prices.

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