Pakistan seeks exploration project in Iraq

Pakistan is seeking to gain a foothold in Iraq's huge oil exploration market, once United Nations sanctions against the country are lifted, and will shortly set up a long-term presence in the oil-rich country. Pakistan applied for a major oil exploration block in Iraq during a recent visit to Baghdad by Pakistan Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin.


KARACHI�Pakistan is seeking to gain a foothold in Iraq's huge oil exploration market, once United Nations sanctions against the country are lifted, and will shortly set up a long-term presence in the oil-rich country. Pakistan applied for a major oil exploration block in Iraq during a recent visit to Baghdad by Pakistan Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin.

"We have been assured a positive response to our application for oil exploration in Iraq," said an official of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. Pakistan's Oil & Gas Development Co. Ltd. is likely to be allotted a block in the Shiba oil field to explore and develop, he said. At over 100 billion bbl, Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves, he noted.

He said Aminuddin and his Iraqi counterpart discussed in detail bilateral cooperation in the field of oil exploration while keeping within the limits of UN economic sanctions on Baghdad. Islamabad and Baghdad would continue to work within the boundaries of the UN Charter, and no violations of the curbs would be made, the official added.

Meanwhile, Islamabad has told Tehran that it is ready to facilitate the proposed multibillion dollar Iran-India gas pipeline, which would traverse Pakistan. "Talks are under way between Iran and India over the issue, and we have already conveyed to both sides our readiness to address all their security and financial concerns," the official said.

Pakistan stands to benefit from this proposal, as it would collect transit fees if the project were completed.

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