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Shell chief says making progress on Iraq deal

Shell's Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer attends the opening day of the 19th World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, June 30, 2008. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L is making progress in talks on a deal to invest in Iraq's oil and gas industry, but is unsure when a contract will be agreed, Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said on Monday.

Van der Veer told a press conference at the World Petroleum Congress he hoped a deal could be concluded in weeks rather than months, but said on specific timing: “I don’t have a clue.”

Shell and other oil majors are preparing to sign contracts to help Iraq’s national oil company boost output, without waiting for a final law deciding how oil revenue should be split between Baghdad and the regions.

Shell has previously downplayed the significance of the service contracts being discussed, adding it would not make major investments in Iraq without agreement on the law.

The CEO also said he expected the Bonga field in Nigeria to be back fully online soon, after an attack by militants.

“We assume that will be a matter of days not weeks.”

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