A senior Iraqi oil ministry official on Sunday reported progress in negotiations on a four-year-old project to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey.
"The discussions have reached an advanced stage to conclude a bilateral contract" on the project to link Iraq to Europe via Turkey, Deputy Oil Minister Taha Hamoud Mussa said, quoted by the official daily Al-Jumhuriya.
In November, Iraq said it was holding talks with French, Italian and Turkish companies to construct the 1,380-kilometres (900-mile) pipeline estimated to cost $2.5 billion.
Baghdad and Ankara signed an accord at the end of 1996 under which Iraq would deliver up to 10 billion cubic meters (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas a year from five gas fields in northern Iraq.
Iraqi oil exports are strictly monitored under a UN oil-for-food programme that allows Baghdad, which has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, to export crude to finance humanitarian imports.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)