August 3, 2011 / 7:24 PM / in 6 years

Foreign activity down in Iran energy sector-GAO

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Commercial activity in Iran by foreign energy firms has fallen in the last year, with the number of firms investing there in 2011 half the number a year earlier, a government report showed.     Sixteen foreign firms were operating in Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors between Jan. 1, 2010 and May 30, 2011, down from 41 firms the year before, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Wednesday.     Many of the firms that pulled out of Iran in the last year reported sanctions from the United States and other organizations led them to cease activity, the GAO said.     The United States has imposed sanctions to prevent U.S. companies from investing in energy programs in Iran, and additional sanctions exist for foreign firms that invest more than $20 million.      The GAO also said five of seven companies operating in Iran between 2005 and 2009 that held U.S. government contracts had left the country. The remaining two firms, South Korea’s Daelim Industrial (000210.KS) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (009540.KS), hold more than $4 million worth of U.S. government contracts.     Here are the foreign firms operating in Iran’s energy sector: COMPANY                      COUNTRY              SECTOR Belneftekhim/Belarusneft     Belarus          Oil exploration/                                               production China National Offshore      China            Natural gas Oil Corp   China National Petroleum     China            Oil exploration/ Corp                                          production                                               natural gas Daelim                       South Korea      Natural gas Edison                       Italy            Oil exploration/                                               production Hyundai Heavy Industries     South Korea      Refining INA                          Croatia          Oil exploration/                                               production                                               natural gas Indian Oil Corp              India            Natural gas Oil and Natural Gas          India            Oil exploration/ Corp (ONGC)                                   production                                               natural gas Oil India                    India            Natural gas OMV                          Austria          Natural gas ONGC Videsh                  India            Natural gas Petroleos de Venezuela SA    Venezuela        Natural gas Sasol                        South Africa     Petrochemicals Sinopec                      China            Oil exploration/                                               production,                                               refining Sonangol                    Angola            Natural gas     (Compiled by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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