Iraq to Sign Five Oil and Gas Exploration Contracts Next Month

Iraq will be signing oil and gas exploration contracts in the coming month with Japan’s Inpex Corp., Pakistan Petroleum Ltd., London-based Premier Oil Plc and Russia’s OAO Bashneft and OAO Lukoil, according to an official of the country’s oil ministry.

Two of the contracts were announced by the government in May, the last time energy rights were auctioned. The third contract was announced in June.

Iraq’s signing of the agreement with Pakistan Petroleum for natural gas exploration in Block 8, located in the country’s eastern region, will be on November 5, according to the licensing department’s deputy head, Sabah Abdel Kadhim, in a recent telephone interview. Moreover, oil exploration deals will be signed by the ministry on November 7 with Inpex and Lukoil for Block 10, located in Southern Iraq. Contracts with Premier Oil and Bashneft for Block 12 will be signed by the country on November 8.

Blocks 8 to 10 were awarded by the government when it presented 12 areas to bidders during an energy auction held in May. In June, it agreed to sell its rights for Block 12 to Bashneft. Iraq is said to have the fifth largest oil reserves worldwide, according to yearly statistical data gathered by BP Plc that include oil sands from Canada as oil reserves. Moreover, it also has the fifth-largest amount of natural gas deposits in the Middle East.

Iraq has not yet officially closed a deal with Dragon Oil Plc, Turkiye Petrolleri AO and Dragon Oil Plc, which all obtained an oil exploration license for Block 9 located along the border with Iran, said Abdel Kadhim. The deputy head refused to provide additional details.

The approval of Block 9 has been delayed until the ministry’s completion of procedures linked to it, said Ali Al-Dabbagh.

By: Chris Termeer