USA lift sanctions on "Belorusneft"


The US Department of State lifted sanctions against state-owned company "Belorusneft" which had been imposed from March 29, 2011. This was stated in the document published on March 9 in the Federal Register and signed by Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State Kurt Tonga.

The decision of the Department of State was explained by the following: the company "is no longer engaged in activities falling under restrictions", as well as "guarantees were obtained it wouldn`t engage in such activities in future." "Thus, sanctions against "Belorusneft" are lifted," the document says.

The US Department of State imposed sanctions against "Belorusneft" in March 2011 in connection with the contract of the Belarusian enterprise with the Iranian company NaftIran Intertrade. In 2010, the White House also imposed sanctions against Naftiran Intertrade in connection with the fact that Iran used oil revenues for its nuclear program. "The United States are taking additional measures to ramp up pressure on Iran for refusing to fulfill its international obligations in connection with the nuclear program," said the Department of State.

In 2007, "Belorusneft" signed a $ 500 million contract with the Iranian NaftIran Intertrade company for development of Jofeir oil field. At the same time, the 1996 law provides for imposing sanctions against companies that invest more than $20 mln.

Shortly after the sanctions had been imposed, "Belorusneft" stopped to develop Jofeir and ceased its activities in Iran. NaftIran Intertrade reproached Belarus with not fulfilling its obligations under the contract. According to the agreement, "Belorusneft" shall produce at least 3.5 thousand barrels of oil per day, but produced less than 2.8 thousand barrels, the Mehr News Agency reported.

"Belorusneft" stated that "the course of work revealed new data on the geological structure of the field that led to changes of technical, financial and economic terms of the project." With this in mind, the company "Belorusneft" "has decided to withdraw from the contract after the first stage."

"Belorusneft" is not the only Belarusian company to get US sanctions lifted. At the end of the previous year the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) decided to lift restrictions on Trastbank imposed in 2004 because of "laundering money for the [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein", that were earned as a result of carrying out transactions in circumvention of the UN "Oil for Food Programme" and using illegal uplifts and inflated contracts.

Text and pictures by TUT.BY