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UPDATED: 11:33, August 13, 2006
Iran, Iraq vow to promote energy cooperation
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Oil ministers of Iran and Iraq met here on Saturday in a bid to promote cooperation and bilateral development in the energy sector between the two neighboring countries, Iranian local Mehr News Agency reported.

Iraqi Minister of Oil Hussein al-Shahristani, who is on a four- day visit to Iran, underlined the necessity of cooperation in exploiting jointly-shared oil fields and carrying out a plan for Iran to provide refined products in return for Iraq's oil, the report said.

In July 2005, the two countries signed a deal under which Iran agreed to exchange Basra light crude with liquid-petroleum-gas ( LPG) and kerosene.

For his part, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh expressed his hope that eventual stability in Iraq would lay the ground for further reconstruction of the war-torn country.

Hamaneh also agreed to establish two expert committees in both countries to coordinate the ministerial talks, according to the report.

Iraq, which has the world's third largest proven reserves of crude oil, has faced chronic shortages of refined products ever since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, as insurgents have targeted its oil infrastructure, bringing production from the northern fields around Kirkuk to a virtual standstill.

However, the Iraqi government has been forced to import refined products from a number of neighboring countries.

Relations between Iraq and Iran, which were at war from 1980 to 1988 when former President Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq, have improved markedly since a Shiite-led government took power in 2006.

Both Iran and Iraq are member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Source: Xinhua

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