Major U.S., British Oil Firms Take Bulk Of Iraqi Crude

By Agence France-Presse British and U.S. oil companies have bought the bulk of the Iraqi crude put up for tender this week, companies and traders said July 9. British giant BP PLC and Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch/Shell Group took 2 million barrels each of the 8 million on sale, spokesmen for the two groups confirmed. Oil traders reported that U.S. giant ChevronTexaco Corp. had also bought some of the oil, though estimates of the size of its purchase ranged from 500,000 to 2 million barrels. Swiss-based broker Taurus was also thought to have taken 500,000 barrels, while Brazilian state-owned group Petrobras was named by traders as a possible buyer, although some said it appeared to have lost out to Shell in the end. Iraq will start loading the crude on Friday from the Gulf terminal of Mina al-Bakr, an Iraqi oil ministry official in Baghdad said. The loading will be the first sale of Iraqi crude produced since the end of the war to oust Saddam Hussein, declared over on May 1 by U.S. President George W. Bush. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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