Abu Dhabi: Government-level efforts are under way to resolve the controversy surrounding a Romanian oil rig in Iranian waters, according to government and diplomatic sources.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu expressed readiness to expand relations in all fields and stressed the importance of enhancing bilateral relations following a telephone conversation, said Irna, Iran's official news agency.

In an indirect reference to the dispute, they said they believed it was quite natural that Iranian and Romanian companies have minor differences, it said.

"The leaders stressed such differences would not damage their good mutual relationship," Irna said.

The telephone conversation came after Romanian oil company Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) said last week that its Orizont oil rig in the Gulf was attacked and occupied by the Iranian navy, which fired at the rig and searched 20 Romanian and 7 Indian workers.

A second rig, the Fortuna, was removed by GSP from Iranian waters the week before, which resulted in accusations of hijacking against GSP by Pedco Iran, to whom the rigs were leased.

A Romanian Embassy official in Tehran told Gulf News yesterday they were making all efforts at the highest level. "We are hopeful a solution will be arrived at soon."

Meanwhile, GSP provided documents to show that they entered into a contract with Oriental Oil Company, Dubai.

"We signed the contract with Oriental Oil Company Dubai, but the rigs are leased to Petro Iran by Oriental Oil Co., Kish. Now we understand that the Dubai company does not exist," said Gabriel Comanescu, president, GSP.

Oriental Oil Co. of Sharjah said the company conducts most of its business from Dubai although it is registered in Sharjah's Hamriyah Free Zone.

Khosrow Arabi, general manager of Oriental Oil Co., Sharjah admitted that Oriental Oil Co., Dubai was mistakenly mentioned in the contract but said subsequent agreements clearly specified the company is registered in Sharjah.

Mehrdad Safdari, an Iranian, is the owner of Oriental Oil Co., Sharjah and the majority owner of Oriental Oil Co., Kish, which has its headquarters in Tehran, Khosrow said.