Shell to start pumping gas at southern Iraq project

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shellplans to start pumping gas from its gas joint venture in southern Iraq in the next three weeks at 60 million cubic feet per day, Iraq said on Wednesday.

              Shell and Mitsubishi Corporation <8058.T> signed a $17 billion deal with Iraq last November to capture flared gas at the country’s southern oilfields, which burn off more than 700 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Hans Nijkamp, Shell vice-president and head of the company’s Iraq projects, told Iraq Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani that output would be increased by a further 40 million cubic feet a day several weeks after pumping starts, a statement from Shahristani’s office said.

              Officials have said that the project will handle 2 billion cubic feet per day by 2017.

              The gas will be used as feedstock for the petrochemical industry and should also help to boost power in Iraq, which has a chronic electricity shortage, officials say.