Iraq Invites Bidders for Nassiriya Oil Field

Iraq's oil ministry Tuesday invited international companies to bid to develop the giant Nassiriya oil field in southern Iraq and build a nearby refinery in a package deal.

"The project contemplates the integrated development of the (4+) billion barrel Nassiriya oil field in Thi-Qar province together with the construction and operation of a new 300,000 barrels-a-day refinery," the ministry said in a statement on its web site.

Potential bidders would join upstream companies already qualified by the ministry to develop the project, it said.

Earlier this year, the head of the oil ministry's petroleum contracts and licensing directorate, Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, said some 47 prequalified upstream firms will be invited to compete for the project.

The contract would come in a package that would include the construction of a refinery and will have more favorable terms than the previous service contracts that Iraq signed with international oil companies, he said, without giving further details.

A consortium of three Japanese companies comprising JX Holding Inc., Inpex Corp. and JGC Corp. had negotiated the Nassiriya oil field for three years. But negotiations were called off at the last minute in 2009 over financing reasons..

Nassiriya's proven crude oil reserves of more than 4.4 billion barrels make it an attractive investment

Iraq's three aging main refineries--Dura, Baiji, and Basra--are producing at 70% of capacity, equivalent to around 560,000 barrels a day.

Iraq hopes to increase its refining capacity to at least 750,000 barrels a day this year.


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