Royal Dutch Shell may be looking to play a role in developing new pipelines to transport natural gas and oil from the Middle East to Europe through eastern Arab and Levantine states.
If the project comes to fruition, the pipelines would widen Shell's export options, as well as options for other international oil companies that are scrambling for access to major oil and gas developments in Iraq.
John Mills, executive vice president of Shell's gas and power division, said the Middle East holds an estimated 40 percent of the world's gas resources and is likely to play a role in filling the European gas supply gap.
Countries like Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Syria could likely be part of facilitating the transit of that gas, Mills said.
"We are ideally placed to help find and develop the gas, and structure the deals to make this all happen," he said.
Shell is working with the governments of Syria and Iraq to develop a master plan. Shell is also involved in negotiations with Baghdad for service contracts to boost output from several large Iraqi oil fields.
Other companies negotiating contracts with Baghdad included the French energy firm Total, U.S. oil enterprises Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Anadarko, and the Anglo-Australian resources group BHP Billiton.
India's RIL signed a deal with UAE's Crescent Petroleum.
Reliance Exploration and Production, a subsidiary of India's Reliance Industries Ltd., has signed a cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates-based company Crescent Petroleum.
The deal aims at establishing a framework for jointly developing industrial projects of mutual interest in the region's energy sector including upstream development, midstream pipelines, downstream industrial projects and petrochemical projects.
The agreement was signed by Atul Chandra, president of petroleum international business at Reliance Industries, and Badr Jafar, executive director at Crescent Petroleum.
"It is a very important day for us to join forces with such a capable and efficient oil and gas company in this region. We have numerous strategic synergies between us, which will help both of us add value to our shareholders," Chandra said.
Four Chinese firms free to bid on Iraqi oil contracts.
China's four oil companies are now qualified to participate in Iraq's next licensing round for oil and gas contracts, the Iraqi oil ministry said.
China National Petroleum Corp., China Petrochemical Corp., China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Sinochem Corp. are among 41 oil firms that now have the qualification to bid.
Although developing oil and gas is a risky venture in war-torn Iraq, the qualification will benefit Chinese companies, as oil resources in Iraq are ill developed because of sanctions and war, said Han Xiaoping, senior vice president of Beijing Falcon Pioneer Technology Co. Ltd.
In April, Iraq sanctioned 35 companies out of 120 applicants around the world. The clearance was in accordance with the criteria laid down by the Iraqi oil ministry. The ministry then added six more oil companies to that original list of 35.
The Iraqi ministry has plans to sign deals in the near future with the oil companies it has qualified to bid for oil and gas service contracts.
Closing oil prices, June 25, 3 p.m., London
Brent crude oil: $135.80
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $136.38
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