July 28, 2009

Israel says Italian firm deals with Iran

An Italian company plans to sign a multi-billion-dollar deal to build a natural gas plant in Iran, Israeli government sources said.

A report in Yedioth Aharonoth Tuesday said information received by government sources in Jerusalem raises fears the Italian company Tecnimont plans to violate sanctions against Iran.

U.S. officials are discreetly investigating the matter, the report said. Israeli government officials said if the details are correct, the Italian company is violating the international embargo.

The report said Tecnimont agreed to help Iran develop a natural gas plant on the border with Qatar in a deal worth some $1.85 billion.

Tecnimont, headquartered in Rome, operates in four sectors, chemicals and petrochemicals, oil and gas, power and infrastructure and engineering, the company Web site said.

A statement released by the Italian company in June acknowledged it received a letter of intent concerning a deal from Petropars Ltd, a company owned by Naftiran Intertrade Company, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil company.

According to the company's Web site, the deal relates to the South Pars Gas Field Development Phase 12 project, on the border with Qatar, the site of the largest known gas deposit in the world.

Tecnimont will be the overall project manager and offer procurement services and construction assistance the statement said, adding the contract is expected to be signed in July and completed by the end of 2012.