BP restarts North Sea gasfield that it owns with Iran
BP has recommenced production at one of the UK's most important North Sea gasfields, nearly four years after the oil major was forced to halt output because of sanctions against Iran, the Financial Times reported Oct. 18.
The oil group confirmed on Friday that gas had begun to flow out of the Rhum field, 250 miles off Scotland's northeast coast, which until its closure in November 2010 had been contributing around 4-5 per cent of Britain's total gas output.
A thaw in diplomatic relations between western governments and Iran, which owns a 50 percent stake in the field, led to permission in October last year from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change for production to begin once more at Rhum.
However technical difficulties and safety concerns have led to a delay of a year for output to resume.
Rhum is half owned and operated by BP, but the Iranian Oil Company has a 50 percent stake in the field, which was discovered in 1977, two years before the fall of the Shah amid the country's Islamic populist revolution.
BP said it would take two to three days for gas flows from the field to feed though Rhum's platform systems to allow for eventual delivery.
The oil company is expecting initial output at Rhum to be held at 50m cubic feet per day. The field's peak output capacity had initially been expected to reach 300m cubic feet per day.
DECC said: "The government supports the resumption of production at Rhum, which is necessary to avoid potential environmental damage and will prevent the possible destruction of the value of the field and its important contribution to the UK's annual gas production."
Revenues owed to Iran from renewed production at Rhum will be held, for now, by the British government in a frozen account until a full resolution over sanctions emerges.