Iraq: No oil contracts made or severed since Saddam's fall

Iraq has not made or severed any petroleum contracts since the Saddam Hussein regime fell, with few exceptions - contracts with Saudi-, Jordanian- and Turkish-based companies for exchanges of crude Iraqi oil for petrol, Tamir Gazban, head of the Oil Ministry interim executive committee, said in an exclusive RIA Novosti interview in Baghdad.

The ministry is focussing attention on Iraqi fuel shortages, next to go over to updating the petroleum infrastructure to resume prewar output. Opening up the many new oilfields will come only after that.

From now on, Iraq will consider only commercial benefits as it makes contracts with overseas petroleum companies to make the greatest-possible profits. It will also proceed from the technical achievements of tentative partners. Iraqi personnel training will come up as an obligatory proviso. "We shall greet whatever companies, Russian being no exception. Meanwhile, not a single Russian corporate spokesman has applied to the ministry," said our interviewee.

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