Western oil majors decide Iraq is still too dangerous

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

ABU DHABI Western energy majors have assessed that Iraq is too dangerous for investment.

Oil executives said that despite the agreement by the Iraqi Governing Council for an interim constitution, the country remains unstable and major investments cannot be justified. They said most Western majors would wait at least another year to determine whether to bid on contracts for the exploration and development of oil and natural gas reserves.

The assessments were issued during the Sixth Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, or GEO-2004, in Manama on Tuesday. The three-day conference brought leading oil executives for a discussion on industry trends and the Gulf oil market. Oil executives said Iraq would require at least three more years before it reaches a production level of 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We have to be patient," Robert Dastmalchi, Middle East and North Africa general manager for ChevronTexaco, told the Manama-based Gulf Daily News. "There needs to be an Iraqi authority, a constitution and clarity over what types of contract we will be offered. Until that is in place, we will not sign contracts. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."

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