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Times Online: Shell strikes deal to extract Iraqi gas

April 12, 2007

TPAO, the Turkish state oil company, will work with the Anglo-Dutch group to extract gas from the Kurdistan region

Steve Hawkes

Shell is poised to become the first oil major to step back into Iraq after reports that it has signed a deal to extract natural gas in the northern republic of Kurdistan.

A Turkish news agency claimed that the Anglo-Dutch giant would work in partnership with TPAO, the Turkish state oil company.

The alliance is also expected to cover the construction of a gas export pipeline that would run alongside an existing pipeline connecting the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan and the massive Iraqi oil field in Kirkuk.

A spokesman for the Turkish Energy Ministry said: “An agreement has been reached which has to be ratified by the administration in Baghdad.”

A Shell spokesman insisted the company had not yet signed the contract but acknowledged that the company was in talks about entering Iraq.

He said: “Shell is exploring various opportunities to monetise Iraq’s gas through exports to gas markets around the world.

“We are also exploring ways to support the development of the necessary gas infrastructure to support Iraq’s domestic power generation.

“Discussions undertaken with the Iraqi authorities or other third parties are regarded as confidential.”

The move comes only weeks after Ashti Harwani, the oil minister for the Kurdish region of Iraq, revealed that he wanted to grant up to ten exploration and production contracts in Kurdistan this year.

It followed the ratification of the long-awaited Iraqi petroleum law.

The vastly underexplored region is thought to hold between 12 million to 45 billion barrels of oil and 100 trillion cubic feet of gas.

With a far better security situation than the rest of Iraq, Kurdistan is regarded by Western companies as the first way back into the war-torn country.

Shell and its peers are desperate to find new oil and gas discoveries and boost production, as older fields in areas such as the North Sea mature.

At present only five minnows, including Genel Enerji, of Turkey, and DNO, of Norway, are exploring in Kurdistan.

But Statoil and BG Group have expressed an interest in joining the black gold rush.
Paul Mullarkey, the chief business developer of BG, told The Times last month: “We are considering our position, as we do with any region around the world. But it’s far too early to say how the situation will progress.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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