Iraq signs oil and gas deals with UAE's Crescent Petroleum, Chinese firms
Iraq signed deals with UAE firm Crescent Petroleum and two Chinese companies on Tuesday for the development of six oil and gas fields as it seeks to produce much needed natural gas for power stations and cut imports burdening the country's budget.
United Arab Emirates-based Crescent Petroleum signed three 20-year contracts to develop oil and natural gas fields in Iraq's Basra and Diyala provinces in northeastern Baghdad.
The Crescent Petroleum contracts include the Gilabat-Qumar and Khashim fields in Diyala, which are expected to begin producing 250 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas within 18 months, the company said.
Crescent Petroleum also plans to explore and develop Khider al-Mai, a third block in Basra province for oil and gas.
China’s Geo-Jade also signed two contracts for exploration and development rights to Iraq’s Huwaiza oilfield in the south and Naft Khana northeast of Baghdad, both near the Iranian border.
Chinese oil and gas company United Energy Group Ltd signed a contract to develop the Sindbad oilfield near Basra.
Iraq expects the new deals to help produce more than 800 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas (mcf/d), Iraq's oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani said during the signing ceremony on Tuesday which Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani attended.
The OPEC producer heavily relies on Iranian gas imports to feed its power grid.
Ghani said Iraq was planning to launch a new bidding round to try and maximise gas production.
The new round will include exploration blocks in the country's north, central and western regions, he said.