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Iraq Energy Minister Discusses Contracts with Oil Executives

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani held talks with oil executives this week in an effort to secure foreign investment and discuss Iraq`s new hydrocarbon law, which regulates the country`s energy sector.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman hosted talks with Al-Shahristani Wednesday in a day of meetings that included representatives from oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, BP and Shell Oil.

Al-Shahristani told reporters that his discussions with oil company representatives were designed to exchange ideas and assistance for plans on the hydrocarbon law, which will be introduced to the Iraqi Parliament for voting at the end of this year.

Bodman touted the law as a move to help Iraq attract $20 billion in foreign investment to boost the country`s oil production as Baghdad seeks to gain the energy community`s confidence in Iraq`s energy sector.

Although Iraq has discussed joint ventures with companies to begin work in specific oil fields, Al-Shahristani told reporters some contracts could be signed before the hydrocarbon law is voted on by parliament.

'We are not negotiating with any company yet. We have to do some homework,' said Al-Shahristani, adding that many companies have expressed interest in developing new Iraqi oil fields.