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    Total in Talks for Iraqi Gas Projects


Iraq's oil ministry says it hopes to reach an agreement with the French major soon.

by: Joe Murphy

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Total in Talks for Iraqi Gas Projects

France's Total is in talks to invest in two gas developments, one west of Baghdad and in the other near the southern city of Basra, the Iraqi oil ministry reported on October 24. The ministry did not divulge any other details on the projects.

An Iraqi government delegation has toured Europe, having discussions with a number of international oil companies on energy sector co-operation, the ministry said. Besides Total, it also held meetings with BP, ExxonMobil and Italy's Eni. "Important consultations" took place with Total, and the ministry "hopes to reach an agreement soon." 

The French major did not respond to a request by NGW to confirm the talks. The company already works in Iraq, holding a 22.5% stake in the Halfaya oilfield in the southern Missan province and a 18% share at the Sarsang exploration block in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq holds some 3.5 trillion m3 in proven gas reserves, according to BP statistics, but produced only 10.8bn m3 last year whereas its demand came to nearly 20bn m3. It wants to boost commercial gas output by developing new fields and reducing flaring, to help wean itself off imports from Iran. It must get regular sanctions waivers from the US government to buy these supplies. The last waiver was granted in September and runs for 60 days.