StatoilHydro Halts Investments in Iran in Current Climate

LONDON (Dow Jones), Oct. 30, 2009

StatoilHydro Friday said it has no plans to make any fresh investment in Iran, and confirmed its obligations at the Khorramabad block there have ended.

Company spokeswoman Maria Dotterud said: "We will not in the current situation make any further investment in Iran."

She said the company's obligations relating to seismic activities at the Khorramabad block in Iran were concluded before 2009, and there are no firm plans to drill the first exploration well there.

"We have reduced our activities in Iran over the last year," Dotterud said.

Mehr News Agency in Tehran reported Friday the seismic data collected at Khorramabad verified the existence of "extensive gas and oil reserves" in the block which is owned by the National Iranian Oil Company.

StatoilHydro's Web site said exploration on the Anaran field in Iran "resulted in promising commercial discoveries in recent years" but noted "work on this project is currently suspended." Some lawmakers have questioned the extent of StatoilHydro's participation in the Iranian energy sector.

Under the U.S. Iran Sanctions Act companies are prohibited from investing more than $20 million in the country. Earlier this month U.S. federal lawmakers raised the issue again, urging the Obama's administration to enforce the act and asking whether the State Department has determined how much and which companies may have violated it.

The act aims to limit investment in Iran in response to the country's violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions ordering a halt to uranium enrichment.

Other companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and Petroleo Brasileiro SA are also being scrutinized for their investments.

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.