Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Iraq-Shell gas deal delayed or not?

Once again Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussein al-Shahristani issues statements differ from the ones his close aides issue and that could explain a gap between the politician and the technocrat inside the Ministry of Oil. Or what the politician and the technocrat want.

Few days ago, senior Deputy Oil Minister, Ahmed al-Shamaa told Reuters that the Iraq-Royal Dutch Shell final deal to make use of the flared gas in the south was likely to be postponed until after the Jan. 16 national elections, citing current political strife. It was planned to be finalized this month.

But al-Shahristani, a politician more than anything else, denied Wednesday that the multi-billion-dollar deal will be postponed, the Dow Jones Newswire's Hassan Hafidh reported from Vienna. "No," al-Shahristani told reporters when asked if the deal is going to be postponed. "We are negotiating with Shell," he added.

Al-Shahristani is in dire need to collect as much as he can from the "achievements cards" to face his political foes when summon by the parliament and to enhance his position when runs in the coming elections along with Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

While al-Shamaa, an advocate to the deal, is realizing that he deal will be dead if it will be negotiated by the current government.Al-Shamaa's comments also reflected he desire of Shell for not signing the deal with outgoing government.