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Iraq Energy Roundup

By DANIEL GRAEBER, UPI Correspondent   |   June 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM
The Iraqi central and Kurdish regional governments are ready to export

Energy ministers from both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government said an agreement on exporting oil produced by Norway's DNO is possible, though official approval has not been finalized.

Production from the 20 oil deals signed by the KRG with international oil companies was thought to be in limbo. The Iraqi federal government calls the deals illegal but said four deals signed before the February 2007 cutoff date will be accepted but amended.

DNO's deal is the furthest advanced, producing about 7,000 barrels per day that are sold on the domestic market. It has built a pipeline from its Tawke project in the Dohuk province to just near the northern oil export metering facility.

KRG said its part of a plan is to produce 1 million barrels per day from the KRG area within five years.

KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said there are technical issues remaining to the export deal.

"When we are ready, we will call our colleagues, and I don't envisage any problem in that," he said.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said they can send a technical team once the KRG is ready. "We never had an issue with the fact that any oil produced in any part of the country is the property of Iraq," he said.

He said, however, that production from most of the other KRG contracts was not legitimate and exports would be affected.

The KRG and Baghdad are to meet next week on key disputed issues such as the draft oil law and control over oil development.


Iraq plans to finalize technical oil contracts by the end of June

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said Iraq is preparing to sign contracts with five international consortiums to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day.

Shahristani said he told four of the companies to move quickly on signing technical support contracts, adding all contracts should be finalized by the end of June, Al-Sumaria reported.

He said Baghdad planned to solicit bids for production-sharing contracts before the end of the year, but noted any contracts need parliamentary approval.


Iraq in talks to unify oil fields with Kuwait and Iran

Baghdad is in talks with the governments of Iran and Kuwait to develop shared oil fields, the Iraqi oil minister said.

Hussain al-Shahristani told London's Asharq al-Awsat newspaper his country entered into negotiations with both countries to jointly develop oil fields in the region.

"We have informed them of the necessity of signing an agreement to unify the oil fields and to move away from a situation where each side has control from its side, as that will bleed these fields in an uneconomical way," he said.

He did not elaborate on which specific fields were being considered, the Iranian Press TV said.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari, however, told Press TV Friday the deal included the Azar oil field in western Iran.


Iraqi crude could ease global economic woes, Indian minister says

There would be relief to the global economic crisis with an increase of Iraqi oil entering the world market, the Indian foreign minister said.

"I believe that it would be helpful if Iraqi crude oil begins to flow once again to its full potential. Once the Iraqi oil is again in the market, the overall spin-offs are going to be large, not only for the global economy, but also for the Iraqi people," Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told The Economic Times of India.

Mukherjee said with the Russian energy giant Gazprom forecasting oil moving beyond $250 a barrel, the international market outlook is grim.

"The entire global economy is facing this crisis, with the developing countries taking on an unbearable burden," he said.

His comments came during the launch of the book "The Ultimate Prize: Oil and Saddam's Iraq," by the former Indian ambassador to Iraq, R.S. Kalha.


Iraq renews 2006 oil deal with Jordan

Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi said in Amman Friday the Iraqi government agreed to renew the terms of a 2006 deal to sell oil to the kingdom for a discounted price.

Iraq in 2006 agreed to supply Jordan with 10 percent to 30 percent of its daily oil needs at $22 less per barrel than market prices.

"The agreement was supposed to end in August this year, but Iraq agreed to renew it for another three years at discounted prices," the Jordanian premier said.

Dahabi, who hosted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said there were security issues in Iraq that had hampered oil deliveries to Jordan, but that is no longer a concern, Press TV reported.

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(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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