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Big Oil Expresses Interest In 11 Iraqi Oil & Gas Fields

Sixteen companies—including Big Oil’s Exxon, Chevron, and Total—have expressed interest in taking part in Iraq’s bidding round on April 15, which will award the rights to develop 11 oil and gas fields in OPEC’s second-biggest producer who is looking to grow its production capacity.

Apart from Exxon, Chevron, and Total, the other interested bidders are Eni, Lukoil, Gazprom, Zarubezhneft, Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Oil & Natural Gas Corp, CNOOC, Geo-Jade Petroleum Corp, China ZhenHua Oil Co, United Energy Group Ltd, Dana Gas, Crescent Petroleum, and Dragon Oil Plc, according to a document by the Oil Ministry distributed on Thursday.

Iraq will be looking to award service contracts on the same day of the bidding round to companies to develop onshore and offshore oil and gas fields along Iraq’s borders with Kuwait and Iran, Bloomberg quoted Abdul Mahdy Al-Ameedi, the Iraqi Oil Ministry’s director-general for upstream oil contracts, as saying on Thursday at an event in Baghdad to show the companies details of the fields up for grabs.

The oil and gas field development plans include three blocks along Iraq’s border with Kuwait, seven blocks at the Iraq-Iran border, and one offshore block in the Iraqi waters in the Persian Gulf, Iraq’s Oil Ministry’s spokesman Asim Jihad told Bloomberg.

In January this year, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi said that the country was nearing an oil production capacity of 5 million bpd, but that Iraq would still comply with its share of the production cuts under the OPEC/non-OPEC deal.

Related: Oil Majors Should Invest In Deepwater Drilling

Eventually, Iraq targets to have production capacity of 7 million bpd, al-Luiebi said, without giving a timeline or year when that capacity would be reached.

Iraq has consistently exceeded its 4.351-million-bpd cap under the agreement, but continues to insist that it is fully complying with the cuts.

Islamic State has destroyed around 70 percent of Iraq’s oil infrastructure, al-Luiebi said in January, a month after Iraq declared that the war with ISIS over. Iraq is now seeking US$100 billion in investments in major projects—including oil and refining--that would help revive its economy, which has also been hurt by low oil prices.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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