Iraq Signed $558.3M Oil, Gas Contracts In 2007

Jan 14, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Iraqi government in Baghdad signed some $558.3 million worth of contracts with international companies to upgrade its downstream and upstream oil facilities in 2007, the Iraqi oil ministry said on its Web site.

The oil ministry also said only 18.5% of the money allocated by the national budget as capital investment in the oil and gas sector was spent between January and the end of October 2007.

The ten contracts listed by the ministry covered work to upgrade Baghdad and Basra refineries, drilling and rehabilitation of 180 wells in West Qurana and North Rumaila oil fields in southern Iraq, the site said.

The value of the two contracts to upgrade Baghdad and Basra refineries were $133 million, it said. Contracts to drill new wells and rehabilitate others were valued at $115 million.

The site made no mention of the companies involved in these contracts.

It said a contract worth $128.5 million was signed with a company or companies to prepare designs for a planned 300,000 barrel a day refinery in Nassiriya in southern Iraq. It didn't, however, name the company or companies involved.

A $65 million contract was signed to purchase three oil tankers for the Basra-based Iraqi oil tankers company.

It said an $80 million contract was signed to develop the Kormor gas field in Salahuddin province, northeast of Baghdad, which has estimated reserves of 50 billion cubic meters. An Iraqi oil expert said the contract was signed with an Indian company, without naming it.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in Arbil said last year it had signed a contract with Dana Gas to develop Kormor gas filed. The field is situated in territories disputed with the semiautonomous Kurdish authority in northern Iraq.

The ministry site said it had made 85% to 95% progress in projects to develop Tuba, West Qurana and Ratawi oil fields in southern Iraq. It didn't say how much production would be increased after development.

Iraq's crude oil production over the last four months increased to around 2.3 million barrels a day from around 1.9 million barrels a day at the beginning of 2007. The increase came after Iraq managed to protect its northern oil export pipeline which was idle for most of the time since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 until the end of August 2007.

Baghdad has allocated an additional $2 billion for the oil sector as capital investment in 2008. The budget is still under debate by the Iraqi parliament.

Iraq is intending to open tenders soon to develop around seven oil fields in the south, north and center of the country, Iraqi oil officials said. The oil ministry last week set a Jan. 31 deadline for international oil firms to register to compete for these tenders.

Jan 14, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

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