Iraq has won the full backing of the 11-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which held a one-day special meeting in Beirut on Friday (9 June) to discuss Iraq's nationalisation last week of assets of the western-owned Iraq petroleum Company (IPC).
CU ZOOM OUT TO flame burning over oil refinery
SV's pipelines and equipment in refinery (2 shots)
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SV Mr. Pierre Helou, Lebanese Minister seated at table
SV Dr. Saadoun Hamadi, Iraqi Minister seated drinking beer and chatting with Helou (2 shots)
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Background: Iraq has won the full backing of the 11-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which held a one-day special meeting in Beirut on Friday (9 June) to discuss Iraq's nationalisation last week of assets of the western-owned Iraq petroleum Company (IPC). A resolution supporting Iraq's action will be published on June 19.
Syria had taken similar action to that of Iraq last week. Nationalisation came after a breakdown in talks between the Iraqi government and the western owned company, whose shareholders includes British, French and U.S. companies. The government was seeking an increase of production in IPC oil fields, and the settlement of claims amounting to more than 100-million sterling.
The move by the two Arab governments has put Lebanon in a difficult position. Three IPC pipelines branch out from those running from Iraq through Syria and finish at the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli, where IPC owns a refinery. Lebanon has been reluctant to nationalise these installations, despite the call of Arab solidarity. Both Iraq and IPC are expected to claim ownership of crude oil fed into the Tripoli refinery.
Following the nationalisation announcement, Lebanon decided to halt loading from the Tripoli terminal temporarily in order to make sure that enough reserve are stored for local consumption in case Iraq cuts off the supply.
Prior to the special OPEC meeting in Beirut, the Lebanese Minister for Industry and Oil held an emergency meeting with Iraqi Minister for Oil in Beirut. The lebanese Prime Minister, Saeb Salam, has said that if necessary Lebanon would build a new pipeline to carry the Iraqi oil.
SYNOPSIS: The future of this oil refinery in Tripoli is in doubt following last week's nationalisation of the western-owned Iraq Petroleum Company by Iraq and Syria. This refinery is owned by the western company, but Lebanon has been reluctant to follow the lead of the two Arab states and is now in a difficult position.
Three IPC pipelines branch out from those running through Syria from Iraq and finish here. Both Iraq and IPC are expected to claim ownership of the crude oil flowing to Tripoli. To protect against the possibility of Iraq shutting off the pipeline, Lebanon last week suspended loading from the Tripoli terminal to make sure that enough reserves are stored for local consumption.
On Thursday, the Lebanese Minister for Industry and Oil, Pierre Helou met with his Iraqi counterpart Saadoun Hamadi in Beirut. The two discussed the next day's meeting of the eleven-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. At that meeting, Iraq won full support for its nationalisation move.