BP may close Scottish gas field over Iran sanctions: report

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Energy giant BP is poised to close a gas field off Scotland, jointly owned with Iran, because of European sanctions over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme, a report said Tuesday.

The firm was studying a regulation banning joint investments with the Iranians that could shut down its Rhum field, which lies some 250 miles (400 kilometres) off Scotland's northeast coast, reported Britain's Times daily.

Senior managers were in talks about the future of the venture after a tough line against the Iranian energy sector was announced by European foreign ministers Monday, said The Times.

Sources close to the British firm were cited as telling the paper: "There would be some financial impact on BP and there would be some lost tax revenues to the government."

They added the field could be shut "quickly and inexpensively."

A Foreign Office spokesman told the paper: "It is for individual companies to determine how to adapt their activities to ensure compliance. We have discussed the implications of the regulation with BP."

The West accuses Tehran of seeking to build an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy programme, a charge Iran vehemently denies.

© 2010 AFP

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