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Cablegate: Spain/Iran - Union Fenosa Vice President Confirms

VZCZCXRO3632
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHMD #2148 3270810
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 230810Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3841
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0069
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 002148

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2017
TAGS: EFIN ENRG ETTC PREL EPET EINV SP IR
SUBJECT: SPAIN/IRAN - UNION FENOSA VICE PRESIDENT CONFIRMS
SOCOIN ENGINEERING CONTRACT WITH IRAN

REF: (A) MADRID 468 (B) MADRID 270

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, Hugo Llorens for reasons 1.4(b) and (
d)

1. (C) Charge called Union Fenosa Vice President and CEO
Honorato Lopez Isla on 11/20/07 to find out whether an
11/16/07 Financial Times story ("Tehran in talks with
European companies over big LNG project") reporting that an
Union Fenosa subsidiary, Socoin, had been awarded a euros
32.5 million engineering contract for "Iran LNG in August"
was true. Lopez told Charge that the Financial Times article
was accurate, and that he was aware of the article. Charge
pointed out that the deal was disappointing to the U.S.
because now was not the time for business as usual with
Iran's oil and gas industry. Lopez said that Union Fenosa
had only recently acquired Socoin and had therefore not been
in a position to turn the deal off. Moreover the contract
was not really an investment. The Socoin contract involved a
part in a much bigger study and was similar to work that the
company was conducting in Egypt and Oman. Nonetheless, Lopez
told Charge: "I hear you." The Union Fenosa CEO said that he
would be on travel in the coming days, but that when he came
back he wanted to meet with the Charge to discuss Iran.

2. (C) Comment: The Socoin deal is obviously disppointing,
but our sense is that we have an opening to influence future
Union Fenosa activity in Iran. Union Fenosa, unlike other
big Spanish energy companies, does not have major interests
in the U.S. so we doubt the Iran Sanctions Act would be a
signficant deterrent for Union Fenosa. However, Lopez was
clearly aware of U.S. concerns regarding Iran. Like other
Spanish executives, he does not want to be on the wrong side
of the USG. Ambassador Aguirre's 2/13/07 meeting with Repsol
CEO Antonio Brufau (ref B), and his breakfast with other
major Spanish businessmen on 5/9/07 (ref A), were probably
discussed in wider Spanish business circles. The fact that
the Spanish and international press have reported that Repsol
is not likely to make a final investment decision regarding
the South Pars gas project until diplomatic pressure on Iran
eases has also probably not gone unnoticed.
LLORENS

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