Shell hoping Iraq will boost its reserves

May 4, 2004 at 9:26 AM

LONDON, May 4 (UPI) -- The Royal Dutch/Shell oil group is betting that prospects in Iraq will help it rebuild depleted oil reserves, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The Anglo-Dutch energy company has suffered from internal difficulties with the exit of its chairman and two other directors because global oil reserves were apparently overstated by as much as 20 percent.

Shell is under significant pressure from shareholders to boost oil reserves.

Shell said it intends "to establish a material and enduring presence in Iraq" in an attempt to rebuild the firm's depleted reserves and foster the long term future of the country's energy sector.

"We would welcome the opportunity to help Iraq build its energy industry, once the security situation allows and an internationally recognized Iraq government is established," a Shell spokesman said. "We are interested in building a long term relationship with Iraqis."

Shell's comments contrast with those of rival BP, which recently expressed disillusionment with Iraq's prospects. BP chief executive Lord Browne said last week that private firms might not have a role to play there.

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