By Daniel Fineren
DUBAI Oct 7 Abu Dhabi National Energy Company
(Taqa) has received approval from the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) to develop the Atrush Block in the
autonomous region of Iraq, the state-controlled company said on
Deals between foreign investors and the KRG to develop
oilfields have angered the federal government in Baghdad, which
rejects them as illegal.
The government of Abu Dhabi holds a 72.5 percent stake in
Taqa but, like several western oil majors, is tapping into the
region's oil reserves despite the risk of angering Baghdad.
"The Kurdistan region of Iraq is an exciting exploration
frontier and has tremendous potential," David Cook, head of oil
and gas at Taqa, said in a statement.
The first development phase of Atrush is expected to produce
around 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), with first oil
expected by early 2015.
Subject to KRG approval and further field appraisals, a
second phase could add 30,000 bpd of oil production, along with
some associated gas for the domestic market.
Kurdistan's relatively safe operating environment, compared
with southern Iraq, and favourable production-sharing terms have
attracted western majors such as Exxon, Chevron
and Total SA to the region, despite threats of
blacklisting from Baghdad.
The two largest listed energy companies in the United Arab
Emirates - Taqa and Dana Gas - have also invested in
Kurdistan but have not yet ventured into the rest of Iraq.
"Taqa is a listed company driven by commercial interests," a
company spokesman said.
"We look at business opportunities in Federal Iraq wherever
the opportunity arises."
The KRG field development approval foresees Taqa and its
partners pumping as much oil as possible from the field over
25-years, the company said.
Taqa holds a 39.9 percent working interest in the company
set up to operate the field, with Canada's ShaMaran Petroleum
holding 20.1 percent, U.S.-based Marathon Oil
holding 15 percent and the KRG 25 percent.