BASRA, Iraq Nov 25 Iraq on Sunday will
sign the final $17-billion deal with Royal Dutch Shell
and Mitsubishi to capture flared gas despite a legal
challenge from local officials, head of state-run South Gas
Company said on Friday.
The 25-year venture is expected to help Iraq make use of
more than 700 million cubic feet per day of gas that is now
being burned and help generate much-needed electric power.
"There were some legal issues but these have been resolved,"
Director General Ali Khudhier told Reuters on the sidelines of
an oil and gas conference in Basra.
"It is the final contract, there were no changes," he said.
The contract had been scheduled to be signed on Nov. 24 and
will go ahead on Sunday even though some members of the Basra
Provincial Council say they plan to present a lawsuit because
the council was not included in talks on the agreement.
"We are getting ready to present a legal case against the
oil ministry," said provincial council member Farid Khalid.
Khudhier said the council members were not opposing the
Shell deal itself, but wanted to have a larger participation in
decisions on the agreement.
The Shell deal is one of the largest agreements signed with
a foreign energy company by Iraq as the OPEC member works to
rebuild its oil industry after years of sanctions and war
following the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal and Aref Mohammed; Writing by