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Iraqi cabinet approves INOC's partnership with TotalEnergies in Basra projects

Highlights

TotalEnergies signed $27 billion worth of deals with Iraq in Sep

INOC is a revived company that was dissolved in 1987

The Iraqi cabinet has approved Iraqi National Oil Co., or INOC, becoming a financial partner with TotalEnergies in its projects in Basra, the oil minister and INOC president Ihsan Ismaael said in a Oct. 5 statement, as the country seeks to bolster the role of the reestablished state-owned firm.

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The Iraqi cabinet also approved at Oct. 5 weekly meeting its support of INOC's commercial operations and plans to boost Iraq's oil and gas production, Ismaael said.

TotalEnergies didn't immediately respond to email seeking comment.

Iraq signed four energy and power agreements in September worth $27 billion with France's TotalEnergies as OPEC's second-biggest producer seeks to attract foreign investment to its oil, gas and electricity sectors.

Iraq's oil ministry signed three agreements, while the electricity minister signed one agreement, according to a Sept. 5 statement from the media office of the Iraqi prime minister.

The three agreements with the oil ministry include a project to develop the Ar-Ratawi oil field in Basra, which currently produces 85,000 b/d, in order to pump a maximum of 210,000 b/d, according to the statement.

Another project is building the Ar-Ratawi gas processing plant with a capacity of 600 MMcf/d to capture flared gas. The project will also produce 12,000 b/d of condensate, and 3,000 mt/day of LPG to be used in the domestic market.

Reviving INOC

The third is a sea-water treatment project that will process 7.5 million b/d of water.

The fourth project includes the construction of a solar power plant with a total capacity of 1 GW.

Total and Iraq's oil ministry in January signed a memorandum of understanding for the energy projects.

Several oil ministers have tried to revive INOC, which was established in 1964, but dissolved in 1987 and merged with the oil ministry.

The Iraqi parliament passed a law in 2018 to reestablish INOC but its formation has faced legal hurdles, with the most prominent challenge coming from Iraq's Federal Supreme Court in 2019.

However, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's cabinet issued a decision in August 2020 appointing Ismaael as INOC President.

The role of INOC and the oil ministry may change with the upcoming parliamentary elections Oct. 10, which will lead to the formation of a new government.