BAGHDAD (AFP) – A consortium led by Exxon Mobil of the United States has won a contract to develop Iraq’s West Qurna 1 field, an oil ministry spokesman told AFP on Thursday.
“Today we will sign with the consortium of Exxon Mobil and Shell a preliminary accord for the development of West Qurna 1” in southern Iraq, said Assem Jihad.
Competing consortiums led by the US energy giant and by Russia’s Lukoil submitted bids that met Iraq’s conditions for the West Qurna 1 field, Jihad said last week.
The Exxon-led consortium, which has an 80-percent share and includes the Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, has proposed to boost the field’s production to 2.1 million barrels per day.
West Qurna 1 currently produces about 279,000 bpd and has reserves of around 8.5 billion barrels, according to oil ministry figures.
On Tuesday, Baghdad signed a deal with Britain’s BP and China’s CNPC to almost triple production at the giant Rumaila oilfield, also in the south of the country.
“The two companies will invest 50 billion dollars in the project,” Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said.
The 20-year contract is expected to boost production at the Rumaila field from the current one million bpd to around 2.8 million bpd within its first six years, he said.
In return for their investment, BP and CNPC have agreed to accept payment of two dollars per additional barrel produced at Rumaila.
Iraq has the world’s third largest proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels, behind only Saudi Arabia and Iran. Oil sales, especially exports of around two million barrels a day, provide 85 percent of government revenues.
However, there has been little exploration or development of fields in the past three decades because of wars and an international embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990 following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.