UPDATE 2-Iraq shortlists seven firms for Nasiriya oilfield project
DUBAI, March 12 (Reuters) - Iraq has selected seven international oil companies (IOCs), including Total, to bid to develop its Nasiriya oilfield and refinery, the oil ministry said on Tuesday. French oil major Total was invited to bid despite angering Baghdad by taking stakes in Iraq's Kurdistan region last year, as was India's Reliance, which sold its stakes in the semi-autonomous region last July. Baghdad says any deals signed with Kurdistan are illegal, but the government of Kurdistan says the constitution allows it to sign oil contracts without permission from the central government. Seven other companies that took part in the prequalification will not be invited to bid for the project to tap the giant Nasiriya oilfield and build a new 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery. The Ministry of Oil plans to hold a road show to discuss the contract model from Apr. 8-9 in Amman, Jordan. The southern oilfield, with reserves of more than 4 billion barrels, has been on the block several times. In 2009, a Japanese consortium was selected to invest, but negotiations fell apart. After that, the Ministry of Oil said Chevron of the United States, Italy's Eni and Japan's JX Nippon had expressed interest. Since then, Chevron has taken stakes in the northern Kurdish region, prompting Baghdad to bar the company from doing business in the rest of Iraq. After years of war and sanctions, Iraq aims to produce 5-6 million bpd of crude by 2015 against current output of about 3.4 million bpd, the highest in three decades. Iraq has three main refineries - Baiji, Daura and Basra -- with a total capacity of around 567,000 bpd, but is looking to increase its capacity to 750,000 bpd next year through improvements in existing plants to cut its fuel import bills. Each of the following seven companies will receive a letter of invitation to bid for the project: No. Company Name Nationality Note 1 Zarubezhneft Russian Up & Downstream 2 CNPCI China Downstream 3 Brown Energy American Downstream 4 Reliance Industries Indian Up & Downstream 5 Lukoil Russian Downstream 6 Total French Downstream 7 JGC & Tonen General Japan Up & Downstream
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