The company, which is owned by the NIOC pension fund and the Industrial Development & Renovation Organisation (IDRO), will shut down its foreign offices and stop all financial and banking activities abroad. The move follows allegations by local conservative newspapers earlier this year of financial irregularities at Petropars. Behzad Nabavi subsequently stepped down as head of the company.

Petropars was awarded in mid-2000 the buy-back contract for the phase 6, 7 and 8 developments of the South Pars offshore gas field. The UK’s Enterprise Oilhas taken a 20 per cent stake in the developments. Petropars was also awarded phase 1 of the South Pars scheme, which is running behind schedule, and is carrying out phases 4 and 5 in partnership with Italy’s Eni. The total value of the contracts is about $7,500 million.