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EghtesadOnline: The Oil Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday rebutting “biased” reports about the government’s collaboration with foreign contractors to build offshore structures for a major gas project in the Persian Gulf.

Tasnim News Agency, affiliated to the political opponents of President Hassan Rouhani and his administration, reported on Monday that the government has shunned domestic companies for construction of a jacket platform for the giant South Pars Gas Field, alleging that one such order was given to a Persian Gulf Arab neighbor, the Oil Ministry news agency, Shana, reported on Tuesday.

“Despite the potential of domestic companies to build offshore jackets in Bandar Abbas and Khorramshahr yards, foreign companies have won an order to build a jacket,” Tasnim wrote. It cited Mohammad Meshkinfam, Pars Oil and Gas Company CEO, as saying that “a jacket for Phase 13 of South Pars is under construction in the UAE”.

But the agency put a false spin on the story, according to the ministry.

In March 2015, a Singapore-flagged oil tanker, the Alpine Eternity, inadvertently collided with and significantly damaged an offshore platform jacket in the Persian Gulf, Financial Tribune reported.

Iranian officials sought damages from the ship’s Singapore-based owner, South Maritime Pte Ltd, and Norwegian operator, Transpetrol TM. No one was injured and no pollution was reported.

The ship’s insurer accepted to pay between $180 million and $250 million in damages and also “sought to build a new jacket platform from the ground up … in the UAE because the insurer could not directly compensate Iran due to sanctions and its restrictions” at the time of claim procedures, the ministry said. The insurer is an unnamed British company, it added.

Jacket refers to the steel frame supporting the deck and the topsides in a fixed offshore platform. According to reports, the topsides – the upper half of the structure – had not been mounted on the jacket when the incident took place.

The statement underlined domestic contractors’ capacity in developing oil and gas equipment, adding that currently four companies develop heavy upstream structures, including offshore platform jackets, at home.

Iran Oil Ministry South Pars Jacket Iran offshore structures