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Reuters: Shell says ready to help Iraq boost oil output

Tue Apr 1, 2008 4:37pm EDT 

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is ready to help Iraq boost oil production once that country’s government finalizes a petroleum law covering big energy projects, the head of the oil giant said on Tuesday.

“We are very much prepared to go back to Iraq,” Shell chief executive officer Jeroen van der Veer said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

But first, he said, Shell employees must be able to work safely in the country and a petroleum law must be passed.

“You have to know the rules of the game because you have to bring a lot of money to the country (to develop its oil),” he said. “We expect that the petroleum law, we hope that it is finally passed…during this year.”

The law would provide conditions for investment and international participation in Iraq’s oil and gas industry.

Iraq holds the world’s third biggest oil reserves at 115 billion barrels and has some of the cheapest extraction costs, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Increasing Iraq’s oil production to take advantage of high crude prices is seen as key to rebuilding the country’s economy.

Iraq’s oil output averages almost 2.3 million barrels a day, but with enough investment, the country holds enough crude to double its production, according to some estimates.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)

© Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN0120137220080401

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