Conoco sees no violation in helping Iran analyze data

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON – Conoco Inc. said Wednesday it helped Iran's state-owned oil company analyze data from the Azadegan oil field, one of the world's largest, in the hope of winning rights to drill in the area if U.S. sanctions are lifted.

Conoco, the fourth-largest oil company in the United States, said it did not violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, which prevent it from aiding the development of the Azadegan field.

The company made the announcement in a news release Wednesday night. The company was responding to a story on the Financial Times Web site saying it ran the risk of violating U.S. law by analyzing the data for National Iranian Oil.

The National Iranian Oil Co. last year provided Conoco's U.K. subsidiary with seismic data on what it believed was a large oil field, indicating Conoco may help develop the field once the United States ends sanctions against Iran, the company said. Conoco said it does not have an agreement with National Iranian Oil and obeyed U.S. laws.

Houston-based Conoco has been in contact with National Iranian Oil since sanctions were imposed in 1995, positioning itself to compete for business in Iran once the ban is lifted.

The U.S. sanctions, in place against Iran since 1979, severely restrict what U.S.-based businesses can do there.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer.