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.
Foreign firms accept ministry’s terms in gas auction
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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