The UK government has asked the US and the EU for an exemption to sanctions imposed on Iran to allow London-based BP to reopen a UK offshore gas field it owns in joint venture with an Iranian firm, according to reports.

The Rhum field in the North Sea, a 50:50 partnership between BP and an affiliate of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), was taken offline in 2010, amid tightening international sanctions against the government in Tehran.  

“The BP gas field could be exempted from sanctions under an EU Council regulation adopted in December 2012 amending previous regulation on restrictive measures against Iran,” an EU spokeswoman was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying.

The Rhum field started producing in 2005 and had an output of 5.4 million cubic metres a day (cm/d) of gas before it was shut down.

Earlier this month, the EU annulled sanctions measures against seven Iranian companies, after finding they had no connection with nuclear proliferation in the Islamic Republic.