Iraq plans to award the Akkaz natural gas field development contract to an unnamed Ukrainian company, with the goal of increasing the production capacity to 400 MMcf/d, the official Iraqi News Agency reported Sept. 23, citing Basim Mohd Khedair, undersecretary of extraction within the oil ministry.
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The oil ministry had been in talks with US companies and other investors to develop the Akkaz gas field near the border with Syria, oil minister Ihsan Ismaael said in May. The project was to have an investment of $3 billion.
The initial contract to develop the field was made to South Korea's KOGAS in June 2011 but that was later canceled following a settlement in March 2023, according to the report.
Akkaz is Iraq's largest gas field with reserves of 5.6 Tcf. The Siba gas field south of Basrah has already been developed under contract and is currently operated by a Chinese consortium.
Baghdad is seeking to spend, with certain energy partners, $15 billion to boost its gas production, the country's oil minister said May 3, as the country works on reducing reliance on Iranian energy imports and to reduce gas flaring from its southern oil fields. Iraq is OPEC's second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia.
The investment on these projects will help boost gas production to 4 Bcf/d, allowing the production of as much as 16 GW of electricity, Ihsan Ismaael said in May. Iraq is under increasing US pressure to lower its reliance on Iranian gas and electricity, which are needed to avert acute power outages, especially during the summer when temperatures can soar to 50 C. Since 2018, Iraq has been receiving US waivers to continue to import Iranian energy, which are subject to sanctions that were reimposed by Washington that year.
In July, Iraq completed a $27 billion deal with France's TotalEnergies to invest in oil, gas and renewable projects including a major seawater injection project and plans to further develop the Ratawi oil field in the southern governate of Basrah.
Iraq also expects to wean itself off Iranian gas exports by 2024-25 as it speeds up projects to boost domestic gas production, Ismaael said April 22.