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ExxonMobil Corp and Petrochina Co. have filed offers to develop two oil fields in southern Iraq, which are expected to pump 550,000 bpd, Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Fayyad Al-Nima told Bloomberg in an interview published on Wednesday.
Exxon and Petrochina have tabled proposals to further develop the oil fields Artawi and Nahran Omar and are in talks with Iraq, which is trying to keep its total output at some 4.8 million bpd until the end of the year, the minister told Bloomberg. The two fields are currently producing around 70,000 bpd and Iraq’s oil ministry wants to launch the development project in six months, according to Al-Nima.
Iraq, whose oil reserves are the world’s fifth-largest, seeks to boost oil output as crude prices continue to remain low and Islamic State stubbornly holds onto large territories in the north of the country. Iraq’ biggest oil fields lie in the south and are insulated from the insurgents in the north.
According to Bloomberg data, Iraq produced 4.3 million bpd in June 2016, up by 32 percent from the 2014 average.
Exxon’s bid in Iraq is not the only overseas piece of news about hydrocarbon development for the U.S. group this week. Exxon was among the oil majors which had expressed interest in a tender for hydrocarbon exploration offshore Cyprus, whose deadline for bid submission expired last Friday.
Exxon is bidding for Block 10 in the third licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration in consortium with Qatar Petroleum. Exxon and Qatar Petroleum will be competing for Block 10 with an Eni/Total consortium and with Statoil. This round of licensing bids was particularly attractive after recent gas discoveries offshore Cyprus, Egypt and Israel.
Cyprus is expected to decide whom to award the blocks to in early 2017.
By Tsvetana Paraskova
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.