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Iraq To Develop Gas Fields With Eye To Nabucco

Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assim Jihad
BAGHDAD -- Iraq says it is planning to develop major natural gas fields in preparation for joining the Nabucco pipeline project after the European Union expressed interest in acquiring Iraqi gas, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Oil Ministry spokesman Assim Jihad told RFI that the country will focus on meeting domestic needs first but is more than willing to export surplus gas and is considering development of the promising Akkash and Mansouriya gas fields.

Jihad added that the EU has already approached the Iraqi government about exploring possible gas imports from Iraq as part of an EU policy to diversify gas supplies.

The Iraqi gas fields would go via Turkey to connect to the Nabucco pipeline -- which connects the Caspian and Middle East with Western Europe -- by 2013.