Iraqi oil minister says gas sector is a priority

An Iraqi national flag flies in front of excess gas as its being burnt off in the newly opened section of an oil refinery in the Zubair oil field southwest of Basra in southern Iraq on March 3, 2016. (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abduljabbar said on Friday that gas sector is a priority as the country is looking to develop long-neglected gas fields and capture gas flared from oil sites.

Abduljabbar said in an interview with the Associated Press that he was hopeful contracts would be signed within the coming months to develop key projects that could boost Iraq’s gas capacity by 3 billion cubic standard feet by 2025.

Iraq currently imports 2 billion standard cubic feet to meet domestic needs.

Abduljabbar further said the oil ministry was close to signing with China’s Sinopec to develop Mansuriyah gas field in Diyala province, according to AP.

The field could add 300 million standard cubic feet of gas to domestic production, he added, hoping to finalize the deal by mid-July.

In May, the oil minister said the Mansuriyah gas field was expected to cost $2.1 billion.

Last year, Iraq cancelled a contract signed with a group led by the Turkish Petroleum Corp (TPAO) to develop the field, according to Reuters.

The ministry decided to invite international energy companies to compete to develop it.

Abduljabbar told AP that the ministry was also in talks with France’s Total to develop an ambitious multi-billion dollar mega investment project in southern Iraq, including the Ratawi gas hub, development of Ratawi oil field and a scheme to provide water to oil fields required to boost production.

He noted that early talks were also ongoing with the American Schlumberger and Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco to develop Akkas gas field in Anbar province.

Iraq is planning to sign contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its gas fields and build gas facilities in southern Iraq and Anbar province, Abduljabbar said last month.

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