Portuguese co offers to buy Israel-Iranian EAPC

The offer was made to Adv. Dov Weissglass before he was appointed director of the Prime Ministers Bureau. A Russian company is also interested in Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co. (EAPC).

Sources inform Globes that the Iranian government recently held negotiations to sell its 50% stake in Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co. (EAPC) to the Portuguese World Bank.

Adv. Dov Weissglass represented the Portuguese World Bank before he was appointed director of the Prime Ministers Bureau. Weissglass notified various government offices several months ago about the negotiations. Weissglass declined to comment on the report.

The Portuguese World Bank, which had received an offer from the Iranian government sources, sent a message through Weissglass that it and other foreign investors conditioned the acquisition of EAPC on the Israeli government also selling its 50% holding.

The Israeli-Iranian partnership was created in the late 1960s. EAPC was set up to build an oil pipeline from Iran to Israel, and thence to Europe, in order to bypass the Suez Canal, which was closed at the time, in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War. EAPC eventually became one of Israels largest energy companies, benefiting from benefits and tax breaks not granted to its competitors, thanks to its partial Iranian ownership.

The Portuguese World Bank stated it could bring in other investors, and would be prepared to guarantee Israels interests in EAPC as a condition of a deal.

The Portuguese World Bank also stated that if the Israeli government sells EAPC, the buyers could carry out oil transactions with countries that Israel is currently unable to do business with, due to political considerations.

A Russian company has also reportedly show interest in recent months in acquiring EAPC, in order exploit its international pipeline.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on October 31, 2002

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