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Iranian company says claim on police firing on Orizont rig a 'sheer lie'

Tehran, Aug 23, IRNA-An Iranian company, a signatory to a contract with Romanian oil firm Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) on Orizont rig, on Wednesday dismissed as 'sheer lie' the media reports that Iranian police had fired on the rig, saying that the Romanian company had failed to illegally withdraw it from Iranian territorial waters.

"GSP's attempts on Monday, August 21, to illegally withdraw Orizont rig from a development project zone in Salmas oil and gas field was thwarted thanks to timely action of Iranian police," said a statement by Petro Iran Co., the Iranian company chartering the rig.

A Petro Iran press release said on Wednesday that the owner company had already taken similar move to illegally withdraw Fortuna rig from Iranian territorial waters.

To take Orizont rig away from Salman zone illegally, GSP had put a barrier on the runway to prevent Petro Iran helicopter from conducting any flight.

The report said that police had been assigned with the duty to do the job since Orizont rig had been confiscated in southern Kish Island on August 16 at the request of Kish Oriental Company and on a verdict of judicial authorities.

It said the rig crew on board have no problem and are free to move around.

"The crew members aboard Orizont rig are facing no problem presently and they are free to move. Hence, what certain foreign media are claiming on shooting at the rig, entry of military personnel on board and disruption in the telecommunication services are sheer lies.

The police forces had just made necessary efforts to prevent illegal transfer of Orizont from Iranian waters," said the press release.

Romanian oil firm Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) had on Tuesday wrongly claimed that one of its offshore drilling rigs in the Persian Gulf came under attack by an Iranian military helicopter.

"We were called by one of our employees at 9.15 a.m. local time (05:45 GMT) who told us a military helicopter opened fire against the Orizont rig, and by 9.45 a.m. Iranian troops got on board," GSP spokesman Radu Petrescu claimed.

"Since then, we haven't heard anything from them." According to dispatches, the 13,000-ton Orizont rig has 26 people on board and has been in Iranian waters since October last year.

... Payvand News - 8/24/06 ... --

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