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Italy's Eni eyes investment in Iraq beyond Zubair field

By Renzo Pipoli

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Eni's CEO Claudio Descalzi is in Iraq looking at possible new investments to expand its presence beyond the operation of the Zubair field.

Descalzi on Monday met with Iraq's deputy prime minister, Thamir Al Ghadhban, in Baghdad to discuss "future opportunities and development investments that will further strengthen Eni's relationship with the country."

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Eni has been present in Iraq since 2009 through its subsidiary Eni Iraq, and with the ramp up of the Zubair Field Development Project in which the Italian company has a 41.6 percent stake, with Kogas having 23.8 percent, Basrah Oil Company 29.7 percent and a state partner the rest.

Eni said it currently operates 475,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Iraq, of which 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day is Eni's equity ownership.

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In Monday's meeting, "Eni's CEO outlined the company's current activities in the country in light of the recent achievements of the Zubair field development. The project ... has marked the fast track development of one of the largest producing oil fields in the southern Iraq region of Basra," Eni said

"At Zubair, oil production has grown by over 100 percent since 2015 and a new 380 Megawatt plant that will generate power for domestic consumption is in the final stages of construction, " Eni added.

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The visit comes as Eni is seeking to expand its presence in the Middle East.

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Zubair is the second biggest field in Iraq after Rumalia, which was developed by BP and China's CNPC in partnership with the Iraqi oil company.

According to OPEC information released in January, Iraq produced 4.7 million barrels per day in December. Iraq is the second biggest producer within the OPEC cartel after Saudi Arabia.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, Iraq holds the world's fifth-largest proved crude oil reserves. All of Iraq's own fields are located onshore, it said.

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