Iraq Gives Shell Deadline for Gas Deal

Iraq has warned Shell that it needs to finalise a $12 billion [14.4 trillion Iraqi dinar] gas deal by next week or it would cancel negotiations over the agreement, the country's deputy oil minister, Ahmed al-Shamma, said on Monday.

"We warned Shell that either we finalise... the deal next week or we will cancel everything", al-Shamma told reporters. "We will not allow discussions to drag on any longer."

Since the signing of an initial agreement in 2008, Iraq has been working to finalise a joint venture between the state-owned South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi to capture gas at southern oilfields.

The deal has suffered a series of setbacks including legal hurdles and political opposition.

(Sources: Reuters, Businessweek)

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