Iraq Launches Tenders for 60 Wells in Southern Oil Fields

AMMAN (Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 27, 2009

Iraq Sunday issued two tenders for foreign companies to drill a total of 60 wells in the country's large oil fields in southern Missan governorate in a bid to increase crude oil output, according to tender document posted on the oil ministry Web site.

The first tender, issued through Missan Oil Co., or MOC, an affiliate of the oil ministry, calls for the drilling of 15 wells in the Halfaya and Amarah oil fields, and another 15 wells in the Abu Ghirab and Fauqi oil fields, the document shows.

MOC Sunday also relaunched a second tender, first offered in March, to drill another 30 wells, 10 each at the Halfaya, Noor and Abu Ghirab oil fields, all located in Missan governorate. MOC officials weren't available to comment on why the tender was relaunched.

The oil ministry has set May 15 as the closing date for receiving offers for both tenders.

The two tenders are part of a "crush plan" recently adopted by the Iraqi government to increase the country's production by 500,000 barrels a day within two years.

The super giant Halfaya field, one of Iraq's prized oil fields, has proven crude oil reserves of 5 billion barrels, while Amarah, Abu Ghirab, Noor and Fauqi are smaller, with each field containing around 1.5 billion barrels in reserves.

Last week, MOC relaunched a tender inviting foreign companies to build a 50,000 barrel a day production facility at the untapped Halfaya field.

Halfaya and Abu Ghirab are among the fields offered for development by the Iraqi oil ministry last year in its second bidding round.

Iraq, a founder member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is desperately seeking to boost production and renew an industry that has been shackled by years of war, sanctions, underinvestment and violence.

Iraq, with oil reserves exceeding 115 billion barrels, the world's third largest, presently pumps about 2.4 million barrels a day.  

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