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Cablegate: Response to Iran Sanctions Act Inquiry

VZCZCXRO3806
PP RUEHDE
DE RUEHMO #3002 3451522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111522Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5644
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1975
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 1757
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI PRIORITY 0129

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003002

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, EEB/ESC HAMMANG, EEB/TFS BACKEYMEYER, AND
NEA/IR WADHWANI
DUBAI FOR IRPO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET ENRG ECON PREL ETTC RS IR
SUBJECT: RESPONSE TO IRAN SANCTIONS ACT INQUIRY

REF: STATE 121808

---
MFA
---

1. (SBU) Per reftel, we notified MFA Head of U.S.-Russia
Bilateral Desk Alexander Zakharov of our inquiry regarding
the ISA. Zakharov said he would pass on the information to
his superiors but otherwise did not provide any substantive
reaction.

-------
GAZPROM
-------

2. (SBU) Per reftel, we asked Gazprom Director of Foreign
Relations Ivan Zolotov (protect) about Gazprom's investments
in Iran and notified him of our obligations under the ISA.
Zolotov could not provide a specific value related to
Gazprom's investments in Iran, but identified only one that
would appear to trigger further investigation -- Gazprom's
investment in Iran's South Pars gas field. According to
Zolotov, Gazprom entered into the project with France's
Total, and Gazprom is the operator of the project. Zolotov
said he believes Total has now exited the project, and added
that Iran has invited Gazprom to expand its activities
related to the field. Zolotov said he did not know how much
Gazprom has invested in the field, but that it had received
approximately $1 billion in revenues from the project thus
far.

3. (SBU) Zolotov said Gazprom has also had a role in the
proposed Iran-India-Pakistan gas pipeline, but the project
has not moved forward and no significant investments have yet
been made. He did not expect the project to be revived
anytime soon. He repeatedly stressed that Iran is not a
priority for Gazprom and noted that Gazprom's sole
representative in Iran will soon retire and is not expected
to be replaced. Zolotov said further inquiries into details
of Gazprom's activities would have to be in writing and
warned that such inquiries are likely to be poorly received
by Gazprom management.

------
LUKOIL
------

4. (SBU) A senior Lukoil representative told us in response
to our inquiry per reftel that Lukoil's only investment in
Iran is its stake (which he estimated at 20 - 25%, while
assigning no monetary value) in an exploration project in the
Amaran block. The representative said Norway's Statoil is
the operator and leader of the project. According to our
contact, Lukoil's role in the project has been as a service
provider. He said a discovery had been made, but that no
further action had been taken to determine the commercial
value or viability of the project. He referred to the
project as "dormant," adding that it is not in Lukoil's
investment program for the coming year and is not on Lukoil's
balance sheet. He said Lukoil takes the ISA issue very
seriously and that it would be happy to answer any further
inquiries. However, he explained that any inquiry requiring
detailed answers would need to be in writing and that a
response to such an inquiry would have to go through various
offices in Lukoil, including the president's.
Beyrle

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