Qatar interested in Iraqi oil and gas licensing rounds

24 May, 2023
Source: Argus Media

Qatar is interested in taking part in two new oil and gas licensing rounds in Iraq, according to Iraqi oil minister Hayan Abdulghani. 
Baghdad last week introduced an "annex" to the fifth licensing round that it launched in 2018, comprising 13 exploration blocks. It is also launching a sixth round.

"The Qataris have expressed interest in participating in those rounds, confirmed through the discussions we had with the energy minister," Abdulghani said today on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha. "We are keen on Qatar's involvement in those new licensing rounds."

The annex to the fifth round, dubbed LR5+, mainly comprises blocks on the southern, eastern and northern sides of the country, four of which were part of the original round but received no bids. Interested companies must submit pre-qualification requests by 15 June, but those that already qualified for the fifth and earlier rounds are automatically pre-qualified. 

"We launched through this forum the announcement of two new licensing rounds, the LR5+ licensing round which includes 13 explorations blocks, in addition to the sixth licensing round which includes exploration blocks available in west Iraq on the borders with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan," Abdulghani said.

Iraq's oil ministry said last week LR5+ aims to "boost the country's oil and gas production and reserves and encourage investment in the hydrocarbon sector in co-operation with global companies".

Iraq finalised contracts for the fifth round in February, two years after they were awarded. It signed six oil and gas contracts in total, which have the potential to produce a combined 250,000 b/d of liquids and 800mn-1,000mn m³/yr of gas once development is completed, according to Baghdad. 

Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum will develop the Gilabat-Qumar and Khashm al-Ahmar blocks in Diyala province, which have the potential to produce an initial 250mn ft³/d (2.6bn m³/yr) of natural gas within 18 months. It will also explore and develop the Khider Al-Mai block, its third exploration block located in Basrah province. China's Geo-Jade Petroleum was awarded the Naft Khana and Huwaiza blocks, and Hong Kong-listed United Energy Group was awarded the Sindbad block, all of which lie on Iraq's border with Iran.

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