LONDON Nov 17 Royal Dutch Shell Plc
has pulled out of oil-development talks with the Kurdistan
regional government in an effort to protect lucrative
investments in southern Iraq, the Financial Times reported on
The newspaper cited people familiar with the discussions as
saying Baghdad is seeking to impose a de facto ban on companies
operating in Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern
Over recent days Iraqi government officials have threatened
to cancel an existing oil field contract with Exxon Mobil Corp and on that basis, Shell's move is precautionary to
protect a potential $17 billion natural gas deal, according to
the FT's sources.
"Baghdad's real power lies in denying future contracts and
Shell still had something else on the table. They still had not
signed the southern gas field deal," said one person familiar
with the talks, cited in the article.
Shell's gas deal with the Iraqi government cleared its last
major hurdle on Tuesday after it was approved by Baghdad's
council of ministries.
Royal Dutch Shell was unavailable for immediate comment.