Arco Calls for End to Iran Sanctions

Just a day after the State Department warned it would review a $1-billion oil deal between Iran and two European oil companies, two of the largest domestic oil companies said they wanted an end to sanctions. Atlantic Richfield Co., the fifth-largest U.S. oil company, said Wednesday that not only were sanctions bad for the Los Angeles-based company but they also were bad for U.S. business. The reason, said Arco Executive Vice President Don Voeltehe, is that Iran has alternatives, among them the deal for the 220,000-barrel-per-day Doroud oil field between the National Iranian Oil Co. and France's Elf Aquitaine and Italy's Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, or ENI, which rank among the world's largest private oil companies. That investment was criticized by State Department spokesman James Foley, who said the Clinton administration would examine it under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which seeks to halt investment in what the U.S. terms terrorist states. Arco has already bid on two Iranian oil field developments, subject to the lifting of sanctions, while Houston-based Conoco Inc. has long complained of the effect of sanctions, which cost it a stake in the $1-billion South Pars natural gas field in Iran.

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