Royal Dutch Shell has signed a formal agreement with the government of Iraq to extract gas from oil fields in the southern Iraq city of Basra. The joint venture will involve the state-owned South Gas Company holding 51 percent interest in the deal and providing the facilities and equipment already in place, and Shell holding 49 percent and providing an infusion of cash. The joint venture will capture 706 million cubic feet of gas per day from the Basra oil fields, then process and supply it in local markets to industrial companies such as petrochemical and fertilizer plants. Shell is now the first Western company to do business with the central Iraqi government since Saddam Hussein nationalized the sector and removed foreign oil companies in 1972; there are currently other foreign companies doing business with the Kurdish government to the north.
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