Iraq Favours Shell, Total, KOGAS for Gas Fields

Source: Reuters 4/15/2010, Location: Middle East

Iraq will invite 15 companies by the end of 2010 to bid to develop three gas fields and Royal Dutch Shell, Total and South Korea's KOGAS are favoured, an Iraqi official said.

"We are keen to select international companies with experience with gas and which have gas projects across the world," said Sabah Abdul Kadhim, head of the Oil Ministry's petroleum contracts and licensing directorate.

"Shell, Total and KOGAS will be at the top of the list because they have good experience in the gas industry and gas operations worldwide."

Two of the fields to be tendered -- the 2.1 trillion cubic feet Akkas field, and Mansuriyah with estimated reserves of 3.3 trillion cubic feet of gas -- were unsuccessfully put on the auction block last June.

Edison and partners including Malaysia's Petronas, China National Petroleum Corp, Korea Gas and Turkish Petroleum Corp were the sole bidders for Akkas. No bids were received in the June auction for Mansuriyah.

The third field -- Siba -- had initially been included in Iraq's second oilfield auction in December but was taken out of the list of reservoirs on offer because the ministry decided it was small enough for Iraq to develop on its own. The 15 companies to be invited to bid for the three gas fields will be selected from those that qualified for the two oilfield auctions last year, Kadhim said.

Iraq would be offering service contracts. The terms of the contracts had yet to be established, he said.

Last year's oilfield auctions have set Iraq on a course to take crude output capacity to Saudi levels of 12 million barrels per day from 2.5 million bpd in six to seven years, making it potentially one of the main players in the oil industry. It also hopes to become a major gas producer and exporter.


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