P.M. BRIEFING : Iraq Seeks Foreign Oil Financing

From Times Wire Services

A senior oil official said today that Iraq will invite foreign companies to finance the development of new oil fields in exchange for secure oil supplies and stable prices.

Oil Ministry Undersecretary Sami Sharif said the door is now open to major oil companies to take part in projects to develop Iraq's vast oil reserves, put officially at about 100 billion barrels.

He said Iraq had three criteria for foreign participation, which ended in 1973 when Iraq nationalized the last remaining foreign oil company operating there. In exchange for long-term oil supplies and stable prices, foreign partners would ensure that projects involved no additional cost for Iraq and would accept repayment in oil from the field they develop. The percentage of production which the foreign partner could lift would depend on the size of the field and the investment involved.

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