But…but…but…he was on 60 Minutes and everything! Mike Wallace interviewed him! He’s really misunderstood…an all around good guy! He probably had nothing to do with it…
I will await further developments to see just what the hell is going on. I don’t think there is enough info at this point (the above was a joke btw) to make a call yet.
Wasn’t there some prediction that Iran was going to spring something on August the 22nd? I know they were supposed to respond to the wests package of goodies by then in return for shutting down their nuke program, but I thought they did that over the weekend (by basically rejecting it).
The BBC report appears to be very incomplete. I’ve made a quick check and this particular storm has been brewing for at least a week, and probably since April. From what I’ve found so far, the two jackup drilling rigs mentioned, the Orizont and Fortuna, have been operating in Iranian waters since sometime in 2005, apparently under contract to Petro Iran Development Company (Pedco). The dispute appears to be sourced in GSP attempting to void the contract with Pedco and pull the rigs out of Iran after buying them from the original owner, the Romanian company Petrom, but that’s not entirely clear from what I have read so far.
Accoring to this article, it seems, GSP had the Fortuna towed out of Iranian waters last week, and Iran has moved to stop them doing the same thing with the Orizont. I’ll see what else I can find on this.
Right now, as the rig in question apparently remains in Iranian territory, I doubt there will be much more than a series of negotiations to arrange its release for monetary consideration.
OK, here’s bit more background. GSP’s story is that it thought it was renting the rigs to a Dubai-based company, which actually turned out to be a front for Pedco. They claim that they’ve been trying to recover the rigs since April, but that Iran has been dragging its feet on permitting the tows out of their waters.
On the Iranian side, it would appear that they were attempting to get around the fact that very few western companies will consider contracts with Iranian companies due to perceived risk. If so, well, that’s pretty stupid, as this incident will certainly provide even less of an incentive to contract with them.
The market for offshore rigs is very tight right now. Actually having access to drill rig is quite a boon. Particularly in Iran where as many have mentioned , the international operators do not like going.
The US trade control issues which pretty much ban any US owned operations in iran, and the Iranian companies do not like paying bills on time, if at all (480 days was one example I know of) stifle all but the bravest (or foolish , you choose) from going there.
Gun boats seam a bit excesive in a property dispute or as a way of securing a rig , although they do have the form for this sort of caper. 2003 (ish) they sent some gun boats to discourage some driling activity in a disputed area of the caspian.