Iraq, KRG Oil Law Agreement Could Open Path For Turkish Investments

"There is certainly a list," said Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler in regards to Iraq's unofficial list of companies qualified to bid for deals, "and we will enter this list."

Guler told The New Anatolian that the Turkey National Oil Company (TPAO) should be on the "short list" released by the Iraqi Oil Ministry April 14 because TPAO's abilities meet the Ministry's qualifications.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry released on their web site April 14 the names of 35 of the 120 companies that have qualified to bid on future oil and gas contracts in Iraq. TPAO was not on that list.

"We have begun talks with Iraqi authorities so that the TPAO can enter the list of companies that will conduct searches for oil in Iraq," Guler said. "The list is not definite yet."

The pending bid list debate is a result of Iraq attempting to increase the production in its oil and gas fields nation-wide despite Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) attempts to control its own oil destiny.

The Iraqi Ministry had excluded companies that had previously signed contracts with KRG from participating in the development of Iraqi oil and gas fields. The Washington Times reported that since 2004 the KRG had signed more than 20 exploration and development deals with foreign oil and gas companies.

In September 2006, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said it would not honor production sharing contracts signed by KGR and Turkey's PetOil and Genel Enerji oil and gas companies.

However, Iraq spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh told reporters April 16 that Iraq's central government and KRG had reached an agreement on an oil law, as well as a way of determining the soundness of previous deals KRG had signed with foreign oil companies.

Dabbagh said the deals reached in the last couple of years between KRG and foreign companies are under discussion.

"This is going to be reviewed and is going to be checked whether they are workable with the new law or not," said Dabbagh. "If not, they should be amended in order to have them matching with the new regulation of the oil law."

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