(Adds Exxon details, paragraphs 8-10)
By Simon Webb
DUBAI Feb 6 Oil major Royal Dutch Shell
(RDSa.L) and Spanish energy company Repsol YPF (REP.MC) have
both registered to compete for contracts to develop Iraq's huge
oil reserves, company sources said on Wednesday.
Big oil firms have been positioning themselves for years to
gain access to the world's third-largest reserves, among the
cheapest oil to produce in the world.
Iraq has given companies until Feb. 18 to submit documents
that will qualify them to compete in tenders for service
contracts to help develop its oil infrastructure. The deadline
was extended from Jan. 31.
"Shell has submitted its prequalification documents, as per
the original deadline," a Shell company source said.
A spokesman for Repsol in Madrid confirmed that Repsol had
also submitted its documents.
Shell and Repsol join BP (BP.L) on the register. BP chief
Executive Tony Hayward said on Tuesday that his company had
BP has no plans to send personnel into Iraq until the
security situation improves, but would be interested in service
agreements and cooperation with the country, a BP spokesman
said on Wednesday.
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), the world's largest oil company not
controlled by a state, said on Wednesday it is interested in
helping to develop Iraq's oil reserves. Still, it declined to
comment on whether it has registered yet to compete for
"If the Iraqi government decides it wants international oil
companies to partner with them in developing their resources,
Exxon Mobil would be interested in participating," spokesman
Len D'Eramo said in an e-mailed statement.
D'Eramo said Exxon would pursue profitable business
opportunities as they arise in Iraq, just as it would in other
countries in which it is permitted to operate. He said it was
premature to discuss specific opportunities in Iraq.
French energy group Total (TOTF.PA) was also interested in
participating in the tenders, company spokeswoman Patricia
Marie said on Wednesday. She was unable to confirm if the
company had already submitted its documents.
Norway's StatoilHydro (STL.OL) said last month that it
would register, but a spokeswoman was unable to confirm on
Wednesday if it had already done so.
BP has undertaken a study of the Rumaila oilfield, one of
Iraq's largest. It has also studied possibilities at other
fields and in gas and alternative energy.
Shell has studied the giant Kirkuk oilfield in the north
and the Missan area of southern Iraq. Shell has also worked on
a masterplan for development of Iraq's gas reserves.
Total had exclusive negotiating rights for the huge Majnoon
and Bin Umar fields under Saddam Hussein.
(Additional reporting by John Acher in Oslo, Joe Ortiz in
Madrid, and Michael Erman in New York; editing by Anthony
Barker, Gary Hill)