Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: The public relations manager of the Iranian Oil Ministry has denied claims that Iran has been fined $18 billion over the Crescent row with the United Arab Emirates.
The court has not yet issued the final verdict. Pursuing the case is the responsibility of the Oil Ministry and the Supreme National Security Council. Information dissemination should be carried out by these two bodies, the official stated, Iran's Fars news agency reported on June 3.
Iranian industry minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said on June 2 that the [Hague] court has ordered that the country should pay $18 billion to the UAE, Iran's Mehr news agency reported.
The country not only didn't gain anythingfrom selling gas to the UAE, but also it was fined $18 billion, he noted.
The Crescent contract was signed in 2011. Based on the contract, Iran was supposed to export unrefined natural gas from Salman gas field to the United Arab Emirates for 25 years. But objections from inside the country led to the cancellation of the contract. Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was Iran's oil minister back then.
In December 2013, the Pana News Agency quoted Iranian MP Alireza Zakani as saying that Iran may have to pay an $8-35 billion fine to the UAE over the Crescent deal if The Hague rules against Iran.
Between $7-8 billion of the figure would be the fine for Iran's delay to meet its contractual obligation, he noted.
During the presidency of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian officials repeatedly called the contract shameful. According to them, the price agreed on in the contract was 14 times below the market price.
Based on the contract, Iran was supposed to export 195 million cubic feet of gas to the United Arab Emirates in the first phase. The figure could be raised to 700 million cubic feet in the next phases.
The Fars News Agency reported in June 2013 that the agreed price for 1,000 cubic meters of gas was $17.5 in the contract. And the price was fixed for 7 years.
But back in 2011 Zanganeh and some other oil officials vehemently supported the idea of signing the contract and accused the others of ignoring the country's national interests.