Security problems stymie Basra conference

In the wake of a deadly bombing, the biggest players in Basra's oil sector backed out of a conference meant to highlight Iraq's investment opportunities.
An exhibition booth belonging to the Italian company Eni stands empty at the second annual oil and gas conference in Basra. Many international oil companies and key ministry officials stayed away amidst security concerns. (ALI ABU IRAQ/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - Two key elements were missing from the Second Basra Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Basra over the weekend: the major foreign oil companies and the most senior officials from the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

Their absence was in many ways symbolic of Iraq's oil sector today. The opportunity to do business is real – the conference was by no means empty, with hundreds of Iraqis and foreigners attending the symposium and lining the expo hall – but security, while improved, remains the biggest impediment, and likewise makes up a sizeable portion of the costs of oil development.

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