Shell Downplays US Probe Threat Over $4.3 Billion Iran LNG Deal February 1, 2007Posted by notapundit in US News.
VIENNA (Dow Jones)–A Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) official Thursday played down the impact of any potential probe by U.S. authorities into a $4.3-billion liquefied natural gas upstream services agreement it signed Sunday with Iran, saying there was some way to go before the full deal was signed.
The official told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of an Iranian refining conference in Vienna that he was unaware of any direct contact with U.S. officials: We signed a preliminary agreement with Iran, the official said, and it could be 2008 before a final deal is signed.
The U.S. government will likely investigate to see if Shell’s agreement on the LNG project it plans to develop with Spain’s Repsol YPF SA (REP) in southern Iran violates its sanctions laws, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday.
The deal may become the next test case for the State Department, accused by the new Democrat-controlled Congress as having been too lax in applying laws that prohibit investment in Iran.
Iran is facing the threat of limited international sanctions agreed by the U.N. Security Council Dec. 23. The U.S. Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf region next month, where it hasn’t had a second carrier since the early days of the Iraq invasion in 2003.
Also, current U.S. law bars companies from doing more than $20 million a year in business with Iran, and since the project is likely to exceed the parameters, State Department spokesman Scott McCormack said he “was sure” the government “will take a look at this particular deal.”
By Sally Jones, Dow Jones Newswires