Russian companies win Iraq contracts worth $40 billion
Russian companies have won contracts worth $40 billion to help develop Iraq's oil and gas, petrochemical and industrial sectors, Iraqi Trade Minister Muhammad Mahdi Salah said Sunday, September 30.
"We agreed a long-term program of economic cooperation, under which Russian firms will implement projects in Iraq worth $40 billion," Salah said, quoted by the official INA news agency.
The program covers more than 70 projects, 17 of them in the oil and gas sector, six in the petrochemical field and 15 in industry, Salah said, without elaborating. Exports from Russia to Iraq have reached $4.3 billion since the UN oil-for-food program was introduced at the end of 1996, Saleh said.
The minister reiterated Baghdad's decision to give Russia and Syria priority in trade relations for having supported Iraq in July against the aborted US-backed British bid at the UN Security Council to impose so-called "smart" sanctions.
He also blasted the UN humanitarian program, saying Iraq had "only received 33 percent of its oil export revenues, that is a total of $14.127 billion, or an average of $2.837 billion a year."
With reserves estimated at 112 billion barrels, Iraq — which is an OPEC member but not included in the cartel's output quota system — ranks second in the world behind Saudi Arabia, which has reserves of 261 billion barrels. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)