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Iraq Energy Roundup

By BEN LANDO, UPI Energy Editor   |   Sept. 19, 2008 at 5:40 PM   |   Comments

Iraqi exports rebound from storms and bomb

Iraq's oil workers have repaired or continue to repair damage from storms in southern Iraq and a pipeline bomb in northern Iraq, bringing exports closer to the 1.9 million barrels per day averaged in August.

Iraq started the week at only 860,000 bpd, Oil & Gas Journal reports, and by Sept. 15 reached 1.53 million bpd.

A storm prevented loading from southern ports. A spokesman from the North Oil Co. told OGJ a Sept. 10 bomb forced the pipeline to Turkey offline.

Iraq typically exports nearly 1.6 million bpd from the south and around 450,000 bpd north.


Former South Oil Co. leader gets new role in Oil Ministry

Four months after the Oil Ministry reshuffled Jabbar al-Laibi from his position as head of the powerful South Oil Co., the details of his new duties have been finalized.

Laibi told the Middle East Economic Survey he's "not 100 percent satisfied, but it is satisfactory."

His new title is ministerial adviser, he will report to Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, and his purview will cover oil and gas production capacity, increasing capacity and contracts to develop oil and gas fields in Basra and Maysan provinces.

"I can meet my ambitions, and the new job will allow me to help Iraq's oil industry," Laibi told MEES.

He was removed from his SOC post following Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's military action in Basra and was among many in middle and senior management to be taken out.

He told MEES there are no major problems between him and the ministry's leadership, and expressed support for a new deal to bring Shell and the South Gas Co. into a joint venture to develop gas in Basra.


International firms invited to London for oil and gas deal briefings

Iraq's Oil Ministry has invited to London the 41 international oil companies it pre-qualified to bid on upcoming oil and gas deals.

The Oct. 13 meeting is expected to unveil the fields put to tender and the legal and technical specifics.

The bidding for the fields is expected to be the first of many opportunities for international investment in Iraq's oil sector.


U.S. senators, State Department square off on Iraqi oil trust fund

Two U.S. senators want the U.S. State Department to offer Iraq options for putting its oil revenue in a trust fund.

The State Department has responded that Iraq has been given a variety of trust fund models for the past three years and argues that forcing the issue now would harm efforts to pass a revenue-sharing law and an oil law.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and John Ensign, R-Nev., would cut a portion of Iraq's economic and reconstruction funding if the State Department didn't present trust fund models and options for implementing it. The department would have 90 days from the bill's enacting.

The senators say it would create transparency and remove a controversial issue -- sharing oil wealth -- from negotiations on ways to reconcile factions in the country.

The department said Iraqi leaders don't feel the time is right for such a trust fund, which demands too much from Iraq's fragile bureaucratic and financial systems.


Iraq-Iran pipeline plans stuck

A project to send oil to Iran and refined products back to Iraq is being held up by a lack of pipes, Upstream reports the Iraqi side says.

A deal signed in 2007 would create duel pipelines crossing below the Shatt-al-Arab waterway along Iraq's southern border with Iran by next year.

Aside from logistical problems, reports surfaced that the United States opposed the deal.


Electricity minister asked to resign over power outages

Iraq's Parliament has tapped a special committee to investigate the recent series of power outages following terse talks between Iraq's electricity minister and members of his own party.

The United Iraqi Coalition, a powerful Shiite bloc in Parliament, asked for Electricity Minister Karim Wahid Hassan's resignation this week, Voices of Iraq reports.

He defended his work, claiming the power sector did not receive enough fuel from the Oil Ministry, and that deals to increase generation and import power from neighbors were scuttled.

Hassan also said demand continues to outpace production growth.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. State Department's Iraq Weekly Status Report, from Sept. 9-15 demand was 9 percent higher than last year while the national grid supply was 5 percent less, meeting only 50 percent of nationwide demand.


Maliki aims for increased British energy ties

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with Malcolm Wicks, Britain's minister of state for energy, in Baghdad this week.

Maliki made vague references to increasing British investment in Iraq's energy sector.

"The wrong policies adopted by the former regime have postponed development and construction projects. But today, and in light of the security improvement, we have begun to stabilize the market," Maliki said, Voices of Iraq reports.

Wicks also invited Maliki to an upcoming, yet to be detailed energy summit in London, which the prime minister accepted.

--

(e-mail: blando@upi.com)

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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