The comments underscore the difficulty that the US authorities face in the war-scarred country as they struggle to kick-start the economy, including fresh work on its massive crude reserves.
'We want to do business with a real Iraqi government,' said Walter van der Vijver, Shell's global chief executive for exploration and production, in Brazil for a crude project launch.
'We do not think it is appropriate to start doing anything now, before a new government takes over. It is far too premature to talk about any exploration and production possibilities in Iraq,' he added.
At present Iraq is run by a US-appointed Governing Council. The body can approve policies and has budgetary powers - but Washington retains a veto over its decisions.
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