Controversial Shell gas deal given to cabinet

Oil Minister said it's now up to the council of ministers to approve joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi to capture gas being wasted in Basra.
Gas flares burn at the northern Kirkuk Oil field on Jan. 6, 2010. (MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - Details of a deal to team Iraq's state South Gas Company with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi have been ironed out and now require approval of the cabinet, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said at a press conference Thursday.

The development was a surprise, since officials recently said negotiations had ended without an agreement, due to lingering financing disputes and the precarious political situation.

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