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Shell Is Still in Talks on Iraq Gas Development Plan

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By Anthony Dipaola

March 29 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc is still in talks on a final agreement to develop natural gas in Iraq, the Middle East vice president for new business said.

“Iraq will become a regional player in the gas sector and an exporter to the region and the world,” Mounir Bouaziz said at a conference in Abu Dhabi today. “Iraq is losing $50 a second by flaring gas.” The country, which flares more than 1 billion cubic feet a day, has the potential to export 20 billion cubic meters a year of gas, Bouaziz said.

Shell is developing a plan to capture and market about 700 million cubic feet a day of natural gas in southern Iraq that is currently burnt off and not used. The company agreed with the Iraqi government in September 2008 to develop the project with the aim of eventually exporting fuel in liquefied form or via pipeline.

The first facilities in the project already collect 135 million cubic feet of gas a day and process it into 500 tons of liquid petroleum gas daily, Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s executive director for international production and exploration, said Nov. 24.

The project may require as much as $10 billion in investment to produce 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas a day, Ahmed Al-Shamma, Iraq’s deputy oil minister for downstream operations, said in September.

Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest trading house, said Aug. 25 it will join the Shell-led project by acquiring a 5 percent stake in the joint venture company that will run the project. An Iraqi state-run company will own 51 percent in the venture, with Shell holding the rest.

–With assistance from Ayesha Daya in Dubai. Editors: Stephen Cunningham, Will Kennedy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Dipaola in Dubai at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at [email protected]

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