Iran has dismissed allegations that it conducted secret meetings to hand over two oil projects to BP, a British energy major.
According to the deputy for investment affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company Ali Kardor, reports claiming such things were a part of a "publicity stunt." "BP only in a meeting with the NIOC voiced readiness to cooperate [with the company] with regards to Iran’s new oil contracts," Iranian news agency Press TV quoted Kardor as saying to reporters on the sidelines of the Oil and Money conference in London.
The public relations director of Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, Akbar Nematollahi, said no agreement was made with any company over the development of oil projects in the Islamic republic.
"The Ministry of Petroleum has engaged in talks with a large number of companies," IRNA quoted Nematollahi as saying. "However, those talks have led to no agreement over the development of any project. Signing deals over the development of oil and gas projects does not happen easily and requires a time-consuming procedure."
The Times earlier quoted a BP spokesman who confirmed that the company had held talks with oil industry officials in Iran. "We have said for some time that we would be interested in reviewing opportunities in Iran once sanctions permit it," he said. He added the company was "fully in compliance with the current sanction regimes in place."
According to reports, BP sent commercial and technical managers to Iran in September on a fact-finding mission. BP CEO Bob Dudley also acknowledged that the company was "very much" interested in having a business relation with the Middle Eastern nation.