Dec 8 (Reuters) - Iraq on Dec. 11-12 will hold its second auction since the 2003 U.S. invasion of oilfield service contracts, ramping up its efforts to lure foreign oil companies back into the country after a long absence.
The contracts are just some of a series of deals that are being negotiated by Iraq with foreign oil majors. Altogether, they have the potential to lift Iraq’s output capacity to a level at which it rivals that of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Here are details on the deals in the pipeline:
BP and CNPC won the contract to boost output from the Rumaila field, Iraq’s largest, in June. Rumaila has reserves of nearly 17 billion barrels, which alone is more than all the oil held by OPEC member Algeria. [ID:nL3558520]
Rumaila is the workhorse of Iraq’s oil industry, providing just over 1 million bpd of the country’s 2.5 million bpd output. BP and CNPC have pledged to boost output to 2.85 million bpd.
Eni, Occidental and KOGAS have won a contract to develop the Zubair oilfield. Zubair has oil reserves of 4 billion barrels. Eni has pledged to boost output there to 1.125 million bpd from 195,000 bpd. [ID:nL2536702]. The Iraqi Oil Ministry has said in some documents that the production target is 1.2 million bpd.
An Exxon Mobil consortium, which includes Royal Dutch Shell, beat out LUKOIL and ConocoPhillips, and two other groups led by France’s Total and CNPC to win the initial rights to develop Phase One of the oilfield. Phase One has reserves of about 8.7 billion barrels, a little less than all the oil held by OPEC member Angola.
The winning consortium aims to boost output to 2.325 million bpd from less than 500,000 bpd at present.
Iraq is seeking a revised bid from a Royal Dutch Shell-led group for Kirkuk, which is currently producing 350,000 bpd. In its initial, failed bid, Shell envisioned a plateau production of 825,000 bpd. One of Iraq’s older oilfields, it has estimated reserves of 8.5 billion barrels.
The field is vulnerable to fallout from tensions between Iraq’s Arab-led government in Baghdad and ethnic Kurds, who view the city and surrounding province as their ancestral home and want it included in their semi-autonomous northern enclave.
Iraq is close to signing an engineering, procurement and construction deal for Nassiriya with a Nippon Oil Corp-led group. The largely undeveloped field is listed as having reserves of under 5 billion barrels.
Nippon Oil Corp has projected pumping up to 200,000 bpd within two years, according to Iraqi officials, and Eni, which was originally in the running for the field, has said it could eventually have a capacity of 1 million bpd.
Iraq may also pursue an EPC deal for the southern part of the supergiant East Baghdad oilfield, which has 8.1 billion barrels in reserves, with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (Japex). Japex has projected that it could pump 400,000 bpd initially from the southern portion of the field, enough to satisfy about 10 percent of Japanese oil demand.
The 10 oilfields on offer Dec 11-12 in the second bidding round include the supergiants Majnoon with 12.6 billion barrels, and West Qurna Phase Two, where there are 12.9 billion barrels in reserves. The rest of East Baghdad is also up for grabs.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry has set an initial commercial production target from all the development deals of 530,000 bpd and an eventual plateau production target of 2.615 million bpd.
In its first auction, its total output target from six oilfields was exceeded by the projected plateau projection contained in just one offer — the BP, CNPC bid for Rumaila.
Iraq is not just depending on foreign investment to boost its capacity. The head of the Iraq Drilling Company, Idrees al-Yassiri, told Reuters on Nov. 27 it would drill 180 oil wells in 2010 with the potential to add 360,000 bpd to capacity [ID:nGEE5AQ0KH]. (Reporting by Simon Webb and Michael Christie)