26 May 2007 - 12:42
  • News Code: 105575

With Iraq keen to enhance Indian investments in the war-torn country"s oil sector, Oil Minister Hussain Al-Shahristani, on a four-day visit to India, called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday and enjoined Indian companies to participate in building new oil refineries.

After meeting Manmohan, Shahristani told media persons: "We do want Indian entities to explore in our country. Iraqi government is, however, passing a new law and all contracts or oil fields awarded previously will have to be vetted under the new law." The oil fields awarded to Indian companies by the previous Saddam Hussein regime will have to be cleared under the new law that is expected to be passed in two months.


The law, which will set rules for investment in Iraq, has so far faced delays due to disagreements on revenue sharing.


Oil multinationals are waiting for the new law before committing cash to the country.


Expressing Iraq"s desire for strengthening ties with India in this field, Shahristani said that Iraq is keen on Indian companies building new refineries and revamping old ones.


Iraq has invited Indian companies to build two refineries in Kirkuk and Missan, each with a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day.


Following his meeting with his Indian counterpart Murli Deora, Shahristani said that all oil contracts awarded by the previous regime would be scrutinized closely.


"Yes, any company that wishes to participate in Iraq would now have to bid for assets," he said.


India is keen to start working on block 8, that was awarded by the preceding regime, to ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC).


India also wants the US-backed Iraqi government to honor the award of the Tuba oilfield to a consortium of OVL, Reliance Industries and Sonatrach of Algeria.


The previous regime had short-listed this consortium before the US invasion of Iraq.



News Code 105575

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