Iraq invites bids to develop oil field
March 25, 2009
The Iraqi Oil Ministry has invited three international oil companies to bid on developing a prized oil field in southern Iraq as part of an accelerated plan to boost production, according to the Associated Press. An official said invitations were sent to France''s Total SA, Chevron Corp., of the U.S. and Norway''s StatoilHydro ASA to offer proposals to develop Nahr bin Umar oil field in Basra. The contract will be for engineering, procurement and construction services, known as EPC contract. More companies could join the bidding. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said proposals are expected next month. The field has about 6.6 billion barrels of reserves and a potential production of 440,000 barrels per day. It produces about 50,000 barrels a day. The Oil Ministry is also studying offers submitted by Italy''s Eni SpA, Spain''s Repsol and Japan''s Nippon Oil to develop Nasiriyah oil field. Nasiriyah field is one of Iraq''s undeveloped fields and lies in oil-rich Dhi Qar province, about 320 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. It is estimated to have about 4.4 billion barrels in reserves with a potential of producing at least 300,000 barrels a day. The ministry is also planning to develop part of another prized oil field in central Iraq, the East Baghdad field, with an estimated of at least 5 billion barrels. Alarmed by plummeting oil prices, Iraq is struggling with poor oil infrastructure and shortage in funds to increase the daily production of about 2.4 million barrels a day to boost its budget. To increase production, the Oil Ministry has recently issued tenders to drill more than 50 new wells in a number of oil fields in the south as part of an accelerated plan to add 300,000 to 500,000 barrels per day by the end of 2010. Ten of them are in the Nahr ben Umar field. Last year, Iraq also offered 19 oil and gas fields to international companies for development in two major bidding rounds, which are to be finalized later this year.