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U.S. companies are eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iraq in all industry sectors, especially in oil and gas, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said on Thursday after U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, met with Iraq Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi.
Al-Luiebi invited U.S. companies to take part in tenders called by the Iraqi oil ministry, and said that Iraq was preparing more favorable work conditions for foreign companies investing and doing business in Iraq.
The two U.S. supermajors, ExxonMobil and Chevron, already have operations in parts of Iraq. Exxon signed an agreement in 2010 with Iraq’s South Oil Company to redevelop and rehabilitate the West Qurna I oil field in southern Iraq. In 2013, Exxon signed agreements with PetroChina and Pertamina for participating interest in the West Qurna I project. In October 2011, Exxon signed six Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) covering more than 848,000 acres in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Chevron, on the other hand, has operations in the Kurdistan Region. Chevron operates and holds an 80-percent stake in the Sarta production-sharing contract (PSC) and the Qara Dagh PSC. The two blocks cover a combined area of 279,000 net acres.
Following the Kurdistan region’s independence referendum and Iraq’s federal government backlash against Kurdistan, Chevron temporarily suspended drilling in the region.
In southern Iraq, Chevron is one of the major foreign companies—alongside France’s Total and Petrochina—that could form a consortium to take over the operation of the Majnoon field from Shell, which has said it wants out of the project. Currently, Shell is the operator and holder of 45 percent at Majnoon, with Malaysia’s Petronas owning 30 percent, and Iraq’s Missan Oil Company holding the remaining 25 percent.
At the end of December, Iraq said that it had formed a management team to take over operations from Shell after the Anglo-Dutch major exits the field by the end of June. Iraq wants to raise production at Majnoon from the current 235,000 bpd to around 400,000 bpd in the “coming years”.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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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.