Iraqi oil minister: No special deals for Russia

Iraq's national oil company will develop the country's giant West Qurna field and decide which foreign companies to work with, the country's oil minister said Thursday, after meeting with the top executive from the Russian oil giant seeking to resume its work at the field. Husayn al-Shahristani told reporters in Moscow that OAO Lukoil's previous experience in Iraq gives it a competitive advantage in gaining new contracts there, but the company will get no special treatment from the government. Lukoil's experience "increases chances of this company winning at the free and open tenders that will be held," he said. Lukoil had an agreement with Saddam Hussein's government to drill at West Qurna, and since Saddam's overthrow and the US-led invasion has been angling to get renewed access to the field.