The Oil Minister, Dr. Hussein Shahrastani, said during a press conference held in Baghdad last Wednesday: that his recent visit to each of China, Australia and Japan resulting in the approval of the Japanese government to grant facilitated loans amounting to 3.5 billion dollars to develop the Iraqi oil industry.
He added that the ministry allocated one billion dollars of the loan to be used for developing Basrah refinery and establishing an oil floating port in Basra as well, adding new units for the conversion of black oil to oil derivatives, adding that he met with officials of major Japanese companies specialized in the oil sector to activate all joint activities to serve the interests of the two friendly nations. He pointed out that Japan expressed its willingness to build a large refinery in the city of Nasiriyah, and that China is also ready to support the Iraqi oil sector and implement the contract concluded with it about developing Al-Ahdab oil field as well as modifying it to suit the quality of Iraqi oil, which China wishes to increase its imported quantities, pointing out that Iraq welcomed the increase in the volume of Iraqi oil exported to China because it is considered one of the major international markets in the world oil consumption.
The minister confirmed reaching a preliminary agreement with China to set up a small refinery in Iraq to provide oil derivatives, adding that the ministry will adopt the principle of transparency in future contracts with fine international companies and be base its prospective contracts on the economic benefit of Iraq and not on the basis of political relations exercised the previous regime. During the conference, Ashahrastani tackled the plan prepared by the ministry to raise the level of Iraqi crude oil production to reach (3) million barrels a day at end of this year: (2.250000) barrels from he southern fields, (750) thousand barrels from the northern fields and reach to four and a half million by 2010. The rates of Iraqi oil exports now reach one million and seven hundred thousand barrels per day. He reported that the Oil Ministry also prepared a plan for the provision of sufficient quantities of kerosene for the citizens, that (200) liters will be distributed during for the next few days for each family in preparation for the winter season, assuring the citizens that large quantities of kerosene are available, especially in Baghdad and the ministry is distributing two million liters per day among the population. The minister announced a plan to provide large quantities of liquid gas for the city of Baghdad; since the terrorist are continuously targeting the pipeline of transferring gas to it, the ministry started transferring this material by tanks. The Oil Ministry is working to increase the production capacity of liquid gas in the whole country and invest it properly to meet the needs of the country.
The oil minister confirmed that the oil wealth belongs to all the people of Iraq and that it should contribute to unify the country and not divide or disperse it and no party is entitled to contract with any company or invest the fields located within its region away from the rest of Iraq. He proposed to establish a federal body that includes all segments of Iraqi people specialized in legislating investment laws concerning oil fields and studying contracts for the implementation of these projects. Ashahrastani denied any intention to increase the prices of oil derivatives in the current stage.(Source)AlSabah