Al-Maliki Welcomes President of French Company "Total"

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The Iraqi Prime Minister renewed Iraq's desire to develop relations with France in all sectors, particularly oil. He praised the role of the French government in helping Iraq, in particular the efforts of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This took place on Wednesday, June 10, as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki welcomed Christophe de Margerie, president of the company "Total" and his accompanying delegation. According to a statement from the prime minister's office, of which Mawtani obtained a copy, Al-Maliki said that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people are waiting for French companies to actively participate in Iraq, in particular the company "Total," which Al-Maliki invited to attend the unveiling of licenses by the Iraqi Oil Ministry at the end of this month.

Al-Maliki also called on French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to visit Iraq alongside French company owners and businesspeople.

The president of Total, Christophe de Margerie, said that his company will participate in the round of bidding for licenses to extract oil that is to be held at the end of this month.

He added that his visit aimed at confirming the commitment of the French government and Total to collaborate with Iraq. His visit comes in response to an invitation extended by the Iraqi government, during the prime minister's visit to Paris, to participate in the building of Iraq.

According to the statement, Margerie announced that Total will work to increase collaboration with the Ministry of Oil.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani held a press conference in Baghdad alongside official Iraqi government spokesperson Ali Al-Dabbagh, where he said that his ministry is ready to announce the name of the foreign oil companies that have been granted licenses to work to extract and develop the oil fields.

Al-Shahristani described the first round of competition as a major event in the oil industry. He added that the ministry chose six giant oil fields and two gas fields and asked major oil companies to prepare for the bidding. In total 120 companies applied, of which 35 were granted licenses.

With 115 billion barrels, Iraq has the world's third-largest confirmed oil reserves after Russia and Iran. Oil exports varied between 6.1 and 7.1 million barrels last year. In the mid-1980s, Iraq exported 4.3 million barrels per day.

During his visit to Paris last April, Iraqi Vice-President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi said that there is a very good chance for Total to win an important contract, particularly given that the company has worked in Iraq previously.

Iraqi Ambassador in Paris Muwaffaq Aboud said that the two oil fields that Total hopes to work in contain in excess of one million barrels per day for a period of 14 years.

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