Iraq wants French involvement in oil industry

Feb 24, 2004 01:00 AM

France's oil companies are invited to a conference to be held in the southern city of Basra, a high-ranking official Iraqi oil ministry official said.
"The main French oil companies are invited to an international oil conference organised by our ministry in Basra in mid-April," spokesman Assem Jihad said. During the Basra conference, the ministry will outline its oil strategy and its investment plans aimed at reviving the sector and reach a production of five to 6 mm bpd by 2010. Iraq currently produces 2.7 mm bpd.

The spokesman said that Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum met French charge d'affaires Bernard Bajolet to discuss France's future involvement in Iraq's oil industry. French companies, especially Total, "were very interested in working in Iraq to rehabilitate the oil infrastructure and invest in the sector", the minister was quoted as saying. "France has always had a very important role in this country, French oil companies have vast experience and a good reputation and Iraq wants to benefit from their know-how," he added.

French oil giant Total's ancestor, CFP, was created by the French government in Iraq. In May 2003, Kurdish Iraqi leader Jalal Talabani had said that all the oil contracts signed with France by Saddam Hussein's regime would be re-assessed.
Prospection agreements were reached in the 1990s for Total, then called TotalFinaElf, to pump oil from the southern fields of Nahr Ibn Umar and Majnun but they were never effective due to the international sanctions slapped on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.

Source: Agence France Presse
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