حفلة 2024

Chinse firms secure Iraq oil contracts

Chinese firms secured contracts to explore five Iraqi oil and gas fields during a recent licensing round focused on boosting domestic gas production, Reuters reported.

Additionally, an Iraqi Kurdish company acquired two of the 29 available projects, marking the first inclusion of an offshore exploration block in Iraq’s Arab Gulf waters.

Iraq aims to attract significant investments for the development of its oil and gas sector, with plans to enhance local petrochemicals production and reduce reliance on gas imports from Iran for power generation. Over 20 companies, including European, Chinese, Arab, and Iraqi entities, qualified for the licensing round.

Notably absent were major US oil companies, despite recent meetings between Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia and representatives from these firms. According to Reuters.

Chinese companies secured five bids, with Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group (ZPEC) gaining rights to the northern extension of the Eastern Baghdad field and the Middle Euphrates field.

Other winners include China’s United Energy Group Ltd for the Al-Faw field, ZhenHua for the Qurnain field in the Iraqi-Saudi border region, and Geo-Jade for the Zurbatiya field.

Iraq’s KAR Group also obtained contracts for two fields, Dimah in eastern Maysan province and Sasan & Alan in northwestern Nineveh province. Additional projects are available for bidding over the following days.

Falah Al-amri, the Iraqi prime minister’s advisor for oil and gas issues, expressed hope that these projects would boost oil production to 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030, up from the current 5 million. Moreover, the government aims for self-sufficiency in natural gas production and aims to eliminate gas flaring by 2030.

While Iraq once aspired to rival Saudi Arabia‘s oil production, challenges such as unfavorable contract terms, conflicts, and political instability have hindered its progress. Moreover, growing investor emphasis on environmental, social, and governance criteria has influenced the departure of Western oil giants from Iraqi projects, while Chinese companies have expanded their presence.

Leave a comment