23 May 2007 - 14:51
  • News Code: 105431

New Delhi, May 23: India will seek oilfields from Iraq in lieu of helping the war-ravaged nation rebuild its refineries when Iraq"s Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani visits India this week.

"Al-Shahristani is coming on a four-day visit. We have a joint working group (JWG) meeting on Friday where host of bilateral issues will be discussed," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said.


New Delhi is keen on starting work on onshore block 8, that was awarded to ONGC Videsh ltd, the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), by the deposed Saddam Hussein regime.


It also wants the US-back government in Iraq to honour award of Tuba oilfield to a consortium of OVL, Reliance Industries and Sonatrach of Algeria.


The consortium had been short listed by the Saddam Hussein regime before US invasion of Iraq.


"They want our help in building refineries," Deora said. "When I met Al-Shahristani in Riyadh earlier this month, he wanted Indian companies to build a 8-10 million tonne refinery (in the war-torn country)."


Iraq has proved oil reserves of 112 billion barrels, second only to world"s largest oil nation Saudi Arabia. Although Iraq has a capacity to process 630,000 barrels of crude a day, it currently produces 477,000 barrels of refined products a day while consumption is 544,000 barrels a day.


"Oil fields, refineries and other energy projects will be discussed during the meeting," he said.


Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Engineers India Ltd can also be involved in revamping Iraq"s old refineries and building pipelines.


Iraq is expected to enact an oil law by may-end that would allow its various regions to negotiate oilfield contracts with foreign investors.


Iraq has eight refineries, none of which were damaged during the US-led invasion in 2003 but they are operating at only 50-75 per cent of capacity.



News Code 105431

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