Iraq in talks with Halliburton, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco to develop oil, gas in Anbar, says minister

General view of al-Zubair oil field near Basra, Iraq April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said on Tuesday the country is in talks with Halliburton Co. and Saudi Arabia’s Aramco to carry out oil and gas developments in the west of the country, Bloomberg reported.

The Iraqi government is in discussion with Halliburton Co. for a technical partnership to develop and operate oil and gas reserves in Anbar province, Bloomberg cited Abdul Jabbar as saying in an interview in Qatar.

The oil ministry is finalizing the commercial terms and scope of work, the minister added. The Iraqi government will sign the contract once it takes office, he added.

“The cost of the development will be covered by the Iraqi government and possibly Saudi Aramco if the oil giant decides to invest,” Bloomberg cited the minister as saying.

Iraq is also in talks with Aramco to fund and develop the nearby Akkas gas field, he noted.

The field has been idle for years due to internal strife before the government recaptured it back from Islamic State militants in late 2017, Bloomberg reported.

Korea’s KOGAS, which held a development contract for the field, is no longer involved in the project, Abdul Jabbar said.

He further said gas from the field would be consumed in Iraq and help the country use less oil to produce electricity.

Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest crude producer, aims to reach self-sufficiency in gas by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

The country is working on a plan to develop its vast gas fields with the aim of generating 80 percent of its gas locally, and it will only need to import LNG in the summer months of June, July and August, Bloomberg cited Abdul Jabbar as saying. Demand for air conditioning soars in that period, when temperatures often hit 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).

Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, depends on oil sales for more than 90% of its public budget and has been under pressure from the United States to reduce its reliance on gas imports from Iran.

The country flares much of its own gas, extracted alongside crude oil at its fields, because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel and instead uses Iranian power imports to generate electricity.

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