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BP boss warns U.S. on Iraqi oil

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  • Josh Pollack
    CNN.com/Business October 30, 2002 BP boss warns U.S. on Iraqi oil http://europe.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/10/30/bpoil.iraq/ LONDON, England --The head of BP,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2002
      CNN.com/Business
      October 30, 2002
      BP boss warns U.S. on Iraqi oil

      http://europe.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/10/30/bpoil.iraq/

      LONDON, England --The head of BP, Europe's biggest company, has warned the
      United States not to hand Iraqi oil operations over to American companies
      after a possible war in the Gulf.

      John Browne says European companies should be given the same opportunities
      as their U.S. counterparts, such as ExxonMobil, to operate in Iraq if Saddam
      Hussein is removed as leader, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

      "We have let it be known that the thing we would like to make sure, if Iraq
      changes regime, is that there should be a level playing field for the
      selection of oil companies to go in there if they're needed to do the work
      there," Browne, BP's chief executive, told the newspaper.

      Browne said BP should be allowed to operate in a post-Saddam Iraq because it
      was responsible for discovering much of the country's oil reserves before
      being thrown out in the 1970s.

      Browne's comments are likely to carry weight with the UK government because
      of BP's close ties to Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party.

      But BP, which makes 80 percent of its profit from oil and gas production,
      has seen its profits come under pressure this year amid the worst refining
      slump in a decade.

      In the past year, it has been hit along with other major oil and gas
      companies -- such as rivals Exxon and Royal Dutch/Shell Group -- by falling
      prices as U.S. demand weakens.

      On Tuesday, BP cut its forecast for oil and gas production for the third
      time this year. It blamed tropical storms and other technical problems for
      reducing already weakened output.

      It lowered its growth projection for 2002 to 3 percent from its last
      projection of between 4.5 and 5.0 percent growth. The company also said
      third-quarter profit declined 13 percent to $2.29 billion from $2.65 billion
      a year earlier.
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