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Snuggling-up time

Caution still pervades the public comments of senior international oil company (IOC) executives when it comes to Iraq. Given the absence of the two key conditions for IOC investment—a stable political/security situation and a transparent and fair regulatory system—expectations for speedy IOC entries are still low, writes James Gavin

BP CHIEF executive John Browne's statement earlier this year that Iraq was on 'no-one's radar screens right now' seemed to sum up the IOCs' tepid interest in the country. Even the more limited projects that require no presence on the ground are not making progress. The oil ministry's recent invitation to bid for a technical survey of the Rumaila and Kirkuk reservoirs, which attracted the interest of 14 IOCs, has yet to make much headway in light of the continuing security crisis. Minnows lead the way With the exception of Russia's Lukoil, which has taken a more active role, because of its need to shore up a pre-regime-change contract to develop the West Qurna field, much of the initial ru

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