An update on this story, with more information on the nature of the incident.
From Oil Online: “Condemnation towards Iran on attacking Romanian oil rig”
“It is totally unacceptable and reprehensible to place innocent workers” physical safety at risk, as Iran’s armed forces did in this matter,” said ICEM General Secretary Fred Higgs. “We understand that a commercial dispute was in progress between the companies, and this dispute must be settled through negotiation and the civil process.”
The Orizont rig was under maintenance at the time, in Iranian waters and a very short distance from international waters. After boarding the vessel, Iranian armed forces kept the crew on the rig’s heliport for several hours without food and water. They then allowed the crew to return to other quarters, but cut off all
communications between the workers and GPS.
The commercial dispute between GPS and Oriental Oil occurred after the Romanian company terminated a contract in April 2006 after Oriental failed to get a renewed bank letter of credit for work this year. Prior to Iran taking military action on Tuesday, the dispute over the removal of Romanian rigs from Iran’s gas fields
to maintenance facilities elsewhere had been taken up in Iranian courts, as well as brought before other international bodies.
Iran’s version of the story accuses the Romanian firm of being part of a grand, multi-company scheme to steal from Iran:
Iranian police forces foiled an attempt by the Romanian oil firm Group Servicii Petroliere (GSP) to rob the Orizon drilling rig in the Persian Gulf, reports said on Tuesday.
According to Mehr News Agency, the Romanian company first started the dispute by kidnapping two representatives of PetroIran Company on Fortuna drilling rig, beating them up and then kicking them out of Iran’s waters in the Persian Gulf on 13 August.
How? On a boat? From the heliport? This doesn’t add up.
After the incident and in response to a request from Iranian partner of the contract, Kish Oriental Company, a judiciary court in Kish Island ruled for confiscation of the rig and the ruling was passed on to the police which in turn took appropriate action, it added.
In spite of the ruling, the Romanian company tried to take away Orizon, the second Iranian oil rig, but the attempt was foiled by Iranian police.
The GSP enjoys the backing of the Alfajr Lel Aqarat Company in the United Arab Emirates which is run by an influential Sheikh and an Iranian born manager.
It is reported that Alfajr Lel Aqarat has been trying to earn some 600 million dollars by stealing the Iranian oil rigs.
The latest from Iran is that a “settlement” has been reached. Never mind the court proceedings.