Iraq Hopes to Finalize China Oilfield Deal in August

China and Iraq will be renegotiating a deal to explore for oil. The deal, originally signed in 2003 with Saddam Hussein, was shelved after U.N. sanctions and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. From Reuters:

Iraq’s oil minister will visit China before the end of August to try and finalize a deal to develop the Ahdab oilfield south of Baghdad and build a power station nearby, the Oil Ministry said on Sunday.

Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said in April that Iraq would honor the $650 million deal signed in 1997 between Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) and Saddam Hussein‘s government, but the terms would be renegotiated.

“A high-ranking delegation headed by the oil minister will go to China by the end of the month to try and finalize the contract regarding the Ahdab oilfield,” Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said on Sunday.

The Dar Al-Hayat gives a brief summary of the chaotic politics of Iraqi oil industry that China has to work with:

Iraq’s oil industry is currently passing through a critical phase caused by political disputes. As such, it becomes impossible to determine which side is truly in charge of this vital sector.

Iraq’s oil sector suffers so much chaos to the point that it is impossible to determine which side is in charge of negotiating and contracting with international firms. For example, the federal government concludes agreements with international parties to sell and export a certain volume of crude oil or natural gas, while a few local groups sign agreements with other firms over the same volumes of crude oil and natural gas without the knowledge of the federal government. This is all in the name of federalism . . .

The Press TV also writes briefly on the forecasted future of Iraq’s oil and the current oil field in the China deal:

“Iraq and China are keen to show their cooperation by finalizing an agreement on developing the Ahdab oil field,” said the ministry in a Sunday statement following a meeting between Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani and China’s ambassador to Baghdad.

The Ahdab field, which is situated in the province of Wasit, could produce up to 115,000 barrels of crude per day.


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