WASHINGTON — Over the past five years, 41 foreign companies have helped Iran develop its oil and gas sector, which accounts for more than half of the Iranian government’s revenues, Congressional investigators reported Thursday.
The Government Accountability Office said the companies provided expertise, equipment and financing and did construction work on oil and gas pipelines, enabling Iran to increase energy production and profits.
No American companies were listed in the report, but the China National Petroleum Corporation was reported to be financing an oil field in an agreement with the Iranian government estimated to be worth more than $2 billion. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea was reported to be building tanker ships for Iran under a $384 million contact.
The report did not determine whether the companies had violated the Iran Sanctions Act, devised to punish foreign companies that invested more than $20 million in a given year to develop Iran’s oil and gas fields.
“Clearly, we need to take a tougher stance against companies tied to Iran’s refined petroleum capacity,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who has been pushing for hearings on companies that do business in Iran. “Companies whose profits fuel Iran’s nuclear ambitions should not be allowed to do business with the U.S. or benefit from the U.S. economy — period,” she added.