Oil and Gas

UPDATE 1-Iraq says in final stages of talks on gas project

BAGHDAD, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Iraq is in the final stages of negotiations with a large global oil company on a joint venture to produce and export natural gas, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“Now we are in the final stages of talks with one of the biggest global companies to establish a joint venture, in which Iraq will hold the largest stake, to collect and produce the gas, to supply electric power and liquify the surplus and export it,” Shahristani said in an interview with the an-Noor newspaper.

Shahristani did not mention the name of the company involved. Iraq has been in negotiations for a gas deal with Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L for several months to collect gas that Iraq burns off at oilfields and Shahristani has previously said he planned to sign the deal this summer.

The gas would piped to power plants to feed electricity generation.

Any excess gas would be exporter as liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is gas chilled to its liquid form for transport.

Iraq holds the world’s tenth-largest gas reserves. But years of sanctions and wars have held back development of the gas industry.

LNG exports would find a ready market in the region. With the exception of Qatar, all Gulf states are short of gas as they struggle to meet rapidly rising demand from power stations and heavy industry.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed