Dubai — Iraq is in talks with France's Total to invest in two gas projects, the country's oil minister said Oct. 24, as OPEC's second-largest producer seeks to boost natural gas production to lower dependence on electricity and gas imports from Iran.
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Talks revolve around investments in a gas project west of Baghdad and another in the southern city of Basra, Ihsan Ismaael said in an oil ministry statement. He didn't disclose further details. Total wasn't immediately available outside normal business hours.
Currently Total has a 22.5% interest in the Halfaya oil field in Missan province in southern Iraq. It also owns an 18% stake in the Sarsang exploration block located in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
Iraq is under increasing pressure from Washington to ramp up gas production in order to wean itself off gas and electricity imports from Iran, which has been under US sanctions since 2018. Iraq has been receiving waivers to continue to import Iranian energy but these are temporary. The last sanctions waiver granted in September is for 60 days, half the previous 120-day exemption secured in May.
Iraq plans to capture an additional 1.2 Bcf/d of flared gas by the end of 2023, the deputy oil minister said Oct.19, as the country attempts to meet rising demand for the fuel for power generation.
Iraq, which has 132 Tcf of gas reserves, currently captures 1.5 Bcf/d of associated gas and wants to boost that figure to 2.5 Bcf/d by the end of 2023, Hamed al-Zobai said in the Oct. 19 statement.
The 1.2 Bcf/d of gas that will be captured includes 200 MMcf/d from Nasiriyah fields and 300 MMcf/d from Halfayah, with the two projects expected to be finished by the end of 2022. The ministry also plans to capture gas from Ar Ratawi fields by the end of 2023.
Iraq is the world's second worst flaring nation after Russia, burning some 18 Bcm (632 Bcf) in 2019, according a World Bank study published July 21.
Iraq also wants to develop two gas fields, Mansuriya and Akkaz, with the help of international oil companies, Zobai added.
The ministry has invited international companies to participate in a new licensing round and present their best offers to develop the 4.5 Tcf Mansuriya gas field, Ismaael said Oct. 15.