Iraq Oil Conference Buzzes with Industry Prospects

BAGHDAD (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL via Dow Jones Newswires), December 5, 2008

A handful of major, international oil companies braved still-dicey security conditions here to attend the country's first significant petroleum conference, with several executives expressing hope they'd soon be setting up shop here.

The well-attended conference and the promise of a permanent presence by some of the best-known names in the industry is a boost of confidence for the struggling Iraqi oil industry, beset with challenges. Its producing fields need maintenance and investment, at a time when the security situation across the country, while improving, is still essentially a war zone by the standards of most international companies.

Sharply falling oil prices have presented Iraq oil officials with another big challenge: Falling revenue is likely to translate into more competition for government funds, which oil officials desperately need for their own oilfield investment plans.

Still, the conference here was buzzing with prospective oil-industry executives. Representatives of Japan's Nippon Oil Exploration Ltd., Lukoil Overseas Holding Ltd., an affiliate of the big Russian producer, and the oil subsidiary of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk Group all said they would now likely be considering establishing footholds in Iraq.

Also attending the session were executives from U.S. majors ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Corp., along with big state-owned giants like Indonesia's Pertamina.

Ryunosuke Onogi, general manager at Nippon, said with the improvements in the security situation, he expects the Japanese Foreign Ministry to lift a ban on companies working here, and Nippon may look to establish an office in Baghdad next year.

"The sooner the better," he said.

Alexander Byrikhin, a spokesman for Russia's Lukoil Overseas, said the company is also looking to have a presence in Iraq and is already working on three projects with the Oil Ministry in technical training for Iraqis.

Many big oil companies are competing for technical-service contracts to boost production at existing fields. Baghdad hopes to bid out the contracts by next summer.

The China National Petroleum Co. is ahead of the pack, signing in August a $3-billion deal with Iraq to develop an oil field in the southeast. It was the first major contract signed with a foreign company and the first revival of a deal made under the Saddam Hussein regime.

Faisal al-Thani, head of business development at Maersk Oil's Qatar office, said he was surprised by the large crowd at the oil conference. "We are all eager to get our foot in the door and establish a presence here," Thani said.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Related Companies
 Company: Lukoilmore info


 - Lukoil Finds Oil at Iraq Well (Feb 22)
 - Lukoil: CEO, VP Sell $34 Million Worth Of Shares (Dec 30)
 - Sources: Russia's Lukoil Appoints New VP For Sales And Supplies (Dec 27)
 Company: ConocoPhillipsmore info


 - ConocoPhillips to Sell Barnett Assets for $305 Million (Jun 29)
 - ConocoPhillips To Lay Off 300 In Canada After Cenovus Deal (May 4)
 - ConocoPhillips Posts Surprise Loss On Higher-Than-Expected Costs (May 2)
 Company: Pertaminamore info
 - ExxonMobil Says Will Drop Discussions Over Indonesia's East Natuna (Jul 18)
 - Saudi Aramco Reaffirms Commitment to Pertamina JV as CEOs Meet (Jul 7)
 - Indonesia's Pertamina To Delay Some Refinery Projects Over Financing (Jun 6)
 Company: Marathon Oil Companymore info


 - RoyalGate to Drill New Well in Equatorial Guinea's Block Z (Sep 25)
 - ShaMaran Subsidiary to Contest TAQA Default Notice (Sep 21)
 - Marathon, OMV Hand Back Croatia Oil Exploration Licences (Jul 29)
 Company: CNPCmore info
 - China's Teapot Refiners Set to Slow Crude Imports as Tanks Overflow (May 26)
 - China to Complete Russia Pipeline Sections by End-2018 -Official (May 16)
 - China, Saudis Said to Discuss CIC, CNPC Stake in Aramco IPO (Mar 16)
 Company: Maersk Oil & Gasmore info
 - Maersk Says Global IT Breakdown Caused By Cyber Attack (Jun 27)
 - Maersk Says No Longer Able To Ship Qatar Bound Cargo (Jun 6)
 - Semco Maritime Inks Deal with Maersk Oil and Gas; Will Add Offshore Jobs (Mar 17)
 Company: Nippon Oil Explorationmore info
 - Canadian Oil Sands Halts Syncrude Production After Fire, Prices Spike (Aug 31)
 - Tap Updates Zola-1 Drilling in Carnarvon Basin (Dec 22)
 - Iraq-Nippon Talks on Nassiriya Oil Field Deadlocked (Mar 1)
 Company: Iraq Ministry of Oilmore info
 - Exxon Spearheads Iraqi Water-Injection Project (Apr 19)
 - Iraq to Alter Signature Bonuses on 2 Oil Field Deals (Apr 15)
 - Iraq Plans New Licensing Auction for 3 Gas Fields (Apr 14)
Events  SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Our Privacy Pledge
SUBSCRIBE


Most Popular Articles


From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Land Representative - MCBU Midland Surface
Expertise: Landman
Location: Midland, TX
 
Land Analyst - MCBU Midland
Expertise: Landman
Location: Midland, TX
 
Land Representative - MCBU Midland
Expertise: Landman
Location: Midland, TX
 
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $49.3/BBL 0.80%
Light Crude Oil : $46.79/BBL 0.70%
Natural Gas : $3.04/MMBtu 0.97%
Updated in last 24 hours