Iraq’s cabinet will sign off Shell’s $17bn project to capture and process flared gas from Iraq’s southern oil fields ‘within weeks’ according to the oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaiby.

Under the deal, state-owned South Gas Company (SGC), Shell, and Mitsubishi will form the Basra Gas Company, which will purchase the associated gas from the  three giant southern oil fields – Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair – process it, and sell it back to the SGC for domestic use.

The $17bn also includes a planned $4.5bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, allowing Shell to explore export opportunities once domestic needs are met.