Richard Melson

June 2006



WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has expressed concern over the prospect of a strategic energy accord between India and Iran.

The Bush administration has urged India not to sign an accord for the construction of a 2,775-kilometer natural gas pipeline from Iran, planned for completion in 2009. Officials said the administration was concerned that the $4 billion project would bolster Teheran amid its efforts to accelerate the nuclear weapons program and launch military and defense cooperation with India.

"We have communicated to the Indian government our concerns about the gas pipeline cooperation between Iran and India," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said during her visit to New Dehli on March 16.


ABU DHABI [MENL] -- Saudi Aramco awarded eight projects for the development of crude and natural gas reserves in the kingdom.

The state-owned company signed the contracts with eight foreign and local firms. The first project was for the development of three onshore fields as part of the Khursaniyah Oil and Gas Program. The contracts signed with Italy's Snamprogetti and a consortium led by Bechtel call for the development of production facilities near Jubail Industrial City in the Eastern Province as part of an effort to increase oil output by 500,000 barrels per day by 2008.

Japan's JGC and Snamprogetti signed contracts for the second Saudi project, termed the Hawiyah Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Program. Hawiyah was meant to produce an additional 310,000 barrels of ethane and natural gas liquids per day.


WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has warned of an Al Qaida attack on Western oil employees in the Gulf.

The State Department has alerted Americans of the prospect of a range of attacks in the Middle East and Gulf region. Officials said Al Qaida could be targeting Westerners who work in the defense and oil sectors of Gulf Cooperation Council states, particularly Saudi Arabia.

"The department is concerned that extremists may be planning to carry out attacks against Westerners and oil workers in the Gulf region," the department said in a March 14 statement. "Armed attacks targeting foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia that resulted in many deaths and injuries, including U.S. citizens, appear to have been preceded by extensive surveillance."


NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran and Kuwait have signed an accord under which the sheikdom would receive Iranian natural gas for the next 25 years.

Officials said the memorandum of understanding, signed on the eve of the OPEC meeting in Isfahan, Iran, was valued at $7 billion and would supply 10 million cubic meters of Iranian gas per day to Kuwait. They said delivery would begin in 2007.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanghaneh said a final contract would be signed by September 2005. Iran, with the second largest gas reserves in the world, has wooed Gulf Cooperation Council states with gas deals.

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June 23, 2006