Sanctions Force Sonangol to Leave $7.5B Iran Gas Proj.

LUANDA, Angola - Angola's Sonangol is pulling out of a $7.5 billion natural-gas project in Iran, a top executive with the African state-oil giant said Friday, the most dramatic example so far of sanctions hitting Iranian ties with Africa.

Speaking at a press conference in Luanda, a Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola executive Mateus de Brito said: "Sonangol is out of Iran" due to international sanctions.

The remarks confirmed an article in the Wall Street Journal that Angola was considering leaving the project due to sanctions.

"Our operations in Iran are unsustainable, especially due to those sanctions, and Sonangol decided to exit and has informed the Iranian government of its decision," he said. The executive added "there are only a few procedures left" before the exit is complete.

In 2009, Sonangol signed up to a 20% stake in a project that is part of the giant South Pars field after European companies pulled out of Iran due to previous sanctions.

Top Angolan and Iranian officials had previously said the Southern African nation was backing away from the project after coming under U.S. pressure. The U.S. State Department confirmed last month it had contacted Angola on Iran sanctions without providing more details.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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