Foreign firms accept ministry’s terms in gas auction

Three gas fields were offered; three were awarded. The Oil Ministry has taken a big step towards awakening the country’s dormant natural gas sector, despite opposition from some local leaders.
An official from KazMunaiGaz is congratulated after winning a 50 percent stake to develop the Akkas gas field. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s gas field auction was never guaranteed to be a success, mired as it was in local controversies, continuing political volatility, hesitation by foreign companies, and Oil Ministry delays. On Wednesday, however, the ministry netted a perfect score, awarding all three gas fields to foreign companies - on Iraq’s terms.

Although some provincial leaders objected to the development plans for fields in their territories, national government officials said the event was a triumphant step toward developing the dormant gas sector. Iraq badly needs gas for its power plants and industrial infrastructure, which are chronically short of fuel; eventually, the country is looking to export gas via pipelines to Europe.

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