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Iran Alleges BP Polluting Caspian Sea with Oil Waste

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Iran is threatening to sue BP Plc, accusing the London-based energy company of polluting the Caspian Sea, the Mehr news agency reported, citing an Iranian environmental official.

BP produces oil offshore in neighboring Azerbaijan and discharges waste into the Caspian instead of injecting it underground, said Abdolreza Karbasi, the deputy head of Iran’s Department of Environment, according to the state-run agency. The waste forms oily patches that foul Iran’s coast and kill marine life, Karbasi said in the report today.

BP is the operator of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field and Shah Deniz natural gas field off Azerbaijan’s Caspian coast, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. BP is a “responsible operator in the Caspian” and has “rigorous” health, safety and environmental procedures in place that are in line with international standards, including environmental impact assessments of all implemented projects, it said.

Iran’s state-run Press TV reported Jan. 27 that Karbasi, the environmental official, noted frequent oil slicks from Azerbaijan in recent years. The latest occurred four months ago and required authorities to clean up some 25 metric tons of crude oil from Iranian shores, the broadcaster said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net; Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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