Thursday, May 20, 2010

Energy Companies Conceal Interactions with Iran

While British Petroleum (BP) has a disaster on their hands regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a Wall Street Journal article exposed yesterday that BP, Shell and other energy companies are also avoiding bad PR by attempting to hide their interactions with Iran. Even though it is perfectly legal, companies are trying to conceal their business dealings given Iran’s recent nuclear program controversy.

According to the article, “An oil tanker named Front Page, chartered by Royal Dutch Shell PLC…reported it was going to another United Arab Emirates port, then on to Saudi Arabia, ship-tracking data show. But the tracking information reveals that Front Page also made an unreported stop—to the coast of Iran. There it loaded Iranian oil, according to records obtained by oil traders and shipping sources.”

“Another oil tanker that stopped in Iran in March, which oil traders say was chartered by Total SA of France, turned off its tracking transponder throughout the visit (to Iran), according to ship-tracking data.”

Although companies have said they’ve stopped selling gasoline to Iran, they do not publicize the fact that they continue to buy crude or other Iranian oil products, a larger and more lucrative business than gasoline deliveries.

All companies involved declined to comment.

What do you think? Is there a problem with energy companies attempting to hide their business with Iran?

My opinion: According to the article, what they are doing is legal; instead of declining to comment and acting even more deceitful, the companies should assure the public that no gasoline sold in the United States is refined from Iranian oil (which is true according to the article) and ensure transparency.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Do you think they actually are better off keeping their mouths shut and trying to distance themselves from the story?

To read the full article and get details about current sanctions, click here.

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