Daily Telegraph: Oil giants jostle for slice of Iraq: “Jeroen van der Veer, chairman of Shell's committee of managing directors, said: "We made several offers [to the interim government] and they have accepted our offer of helping them draw up a gas master plan." (ShellNews.net)
By Malcolm Moore and Christopher Hope (Filed: 27/10/2004)
The race to win a slice of Iraq's vast oil wealth is on with the world's largest oil companies leading the way.
Shell and ChevronTexaco are among 10 companies that have offered to help the Iraqi oil ministry conduct studies on various parts of the country's infrastructure.
However, BP said yesterday that, while it was discussing how it could be involved in Iraq, it had no ambitions until the country was safer for foreign workers.
It is understood that the companies are offering their technical assistance for free, although they will be rewarded with access to valuable data on the state of Iraq's oil reserves.
Jeroen van der Veer, chairman of Shell's committee of managing directors, said: "We made several offers [to the interim government] and they have accepted our offer of helping them draw up a gas master plan."
Speaking yesterday at the Oil and Money conference in London, Mr Van der Veer said this was the limit of Shell's involvement at present. He said: "Iraq is still not safe for our people to work there, and then there are questions over the regime, and whether to do a joint venture with the national oil company."
BP said it was talking to the Iraqi provisional government but chief executive Lord Browne of Madingley said the company was not interested in drilling for oil there until the country was safer for foreign workers.
He added: "It is not clear to me that, as night follows day, big oil companies need to be involved. Iraq could have a state oil company instead. This decision has not been made."