Iraq draws oil interest despite violence

Aug. 15, 2013 at 7:02 AM

DUBLIN, Ireland, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Irish energy company Petrel Resources said it paid cash and provided a stock swap in exchange for a position on the oil and gas in Wasit province in Iraq.

Petrel said it paid $500,000 and issued more than 18 million stock shares to Amira Hydrocarbons Wasit in exchange for a 20 percent stake in Wasit oil and natural gas licenses.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its August report Iraqi oil production is holding steady near the 2.6 million barrel per day mark. That's less than the 3.6 million bpd reported for 2011, the year U.S. combat forces left the country. Violence, meanwhile, is at five-year highs.

Petrel said it holds to the motto politics may change but geology doesn't so it maintains a strong interest in working in Iraq. Managing Director David Horgan said in a statement Wednesday the deal "provides our shareholders with greater exposure to the world class hydrocarbon potential in Iraq."

Petrel said Wasit operator Oryx, a Canadian energy company, estimates there may be 1 billion barrels of prospective oil reserves in the province. Exploration activity is planned for early next year.

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