February 15, 2008 / 10:25 AM / 11 years ago

Total says plans to register interest in Iraq

PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - French oil major Total (TOTF.PA) plans to register its interest in helping to rebuild Iraq’s shattered oil industry, although it has said it is too dangerous for now to operate there.

Foreign oil companies have until Monday to register to bid for contracts. Negotiations between Iraq’s central government and oil companies should get under way between July and September. “We will say that we are interested but I don’t know whether we have sent the letter yet,” a spokeswoman for Total said.

“It’s about taking part and discussing ... and things will not actually happen before six months. So it’s better to be on the lists to see who they will chose and then you don’t have to take part in everything.”

On Wednesday during Total’s annual results conference, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said Iraq was too dangerous for now and relevant legislation was not yet in place there.

“The energy law has not come into effect and the security in the country is not good enough for us to operate there,” de Margerie said.

But he added the company was taking part in discussions so it would be ready to take part when the time was right.

Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Total conducted studies on the Majnoon and Bin Umar oilfields in the south of Iraq, which are two of the country’s most prized fields. (Reporting by Muriel Boselli and Barbara Lewis, editing by Anthony Barker)

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