Iraq faces the challenge of securing its western desert to ensure the work of oil companies
Baghdad plans to invest in local gas and stop importing it from Iran
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is an Iraqi reporter
Wed, March 22, 2023 11:11[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]On February 22, Iraq announced the signing of contracts for the fifth round, which includes the development of six fields and exploration blocks (AFP)
Iraq is planning an oil licensing round that includes a series of border [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] located east and west of the country, especially gas reservoirs in the desert, with the aim of meeting the gas needs of power stations and the local industry, of which large quantities are imported annually from Iran.
Two years ago, for the first time, a real Iraqi government interest appeared in expanding the scope of investments in the development of gas fields, given the dependence of most of the local electricity production plants on this substance, coinciding with the fluctuation of Iranian gas exports to Iraq, which greatly affected the reality of energy supply in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] .
Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdul-Ghani revealed a major investment plan that includes halting gas imports from Iran within five years. Abdul-Ghani said in a speech he delivered during a dialogue session within the "Baghdad International Dialogue" program held in the capital, that "the Ministry of Oil has a plan during the next five years that includes a large investment of gas with the aim of stopping its import from Iran," noting that "the contracts for the fifth licensing round included fields." border of the eastern Iraqi side and will provide at least 750 million cubic meters of gas, which is a promising amount.
On February 22, Iraq announced the signing of contracts for the fifth round, which includes the development of six fields and exploration blocks, namely "Khana Oil" in Diyala Governorate, and it was transferred to the Chinese "Geo Jade" company, and the development of the "Hawiza" oil field in Maysan Governorate, I was referred to the "Geo Jade" company as well.
The tour also included the development and production of the "Sinbad" oil field in Basra Governorate, which was transferred to the Chinese "UAG" company, and the development of the production of the "Kalabat-Qamar" fields in Diyala Governorate, which was transferred to the Emirati "Crescent Petroleum" company, as well as the development of production of the "Kalabat-Qamar" fields. Al-Khashm Al-Hamr - Anjana" in Diyala Governorate, and it was referred to the "Crescent Petroleum" company as well, and the exploration and development of the production of the "Khidr Al-Maa" exploratory patch in the Basra Governorate, was referred to the same Emirati company.
Abdul-Ghani explained that "the Mansouriya field will be put up for competition soon, but not alone, but within the fifth complementary licensing round that includes four border fields on the eastern side of Iraq," noting that "the ministry's plan includes announcing another round of licensing contracts for the western side that extends From the Syrian, Jordanian and Saudi borders to Samawah Governorate.
He pointed out that "there are more than 10 exploratory patches that he has prepared, most of which are invasive," explaining that "the ministry is in the process of preparing and preparing a bag of information for these fields, which does not exceed July of this year, to announce them."
Government plans to invest gas in its western desert may collide with security problems that foreign companies may be exposed to, especially since those areas were, during the war waged by Iraq against ISIS militants between 2014 and 2017, a theater of military operations before the situation was relatively stable.
And the oil expert, Hamza Al-Jawahiri, said that "after investing these fields, Iraq will suffice with gas and the surplus will be exported," pointing out that "the arrival of oil companies needs to secure the western regions of Iraq." He continued, "The presence of oil companies in the western regions of Iraq is very important, but we hope that these areas will be secured by the security forces in coordination with the international coalition forces," noting that "these fields are located along the Hauran Valley, in which ISIS is active." Therefore, it is difficult for oil companies to operate there without securing protection.
Al-Jawahiri said, "Work in those fields, if it is done, especially in the western regions of Iraq, can produce within three years," pointing out that "the western regions of Iraq include reservoirs in huge quantities, but they need to be explored." ".
And about the exploratory patches in the eastern regions of Iraq, Al-Jawahiri said, “There are six reservoirs in the eastern borders of Iraq, three of which contain gas reservoirs, and the other three contain associated gas in high proportions. Three of the six reservoirs are located in northern Diyala in the disputed areas between the region and the center, Therefore, it requires an agreement with the region, while the remaining three reservoirs are located on the common border with Iran.
Al-Jawahiri stressed that "the investment of these exploratory patches will meet Iraq's need for gas with the tendency to export the surplus, since the western regions include huge quantities of gas."
Since 2009, Iraq has signed a series of contracts with [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] to develop its fields in the south and central regions of the country, to focus on the governorates of Basra, Maysan, Wasit and Dhi Qar, and then expanded to explore new oil reserves in the governorates of Muthanna, Najaf and Anbar.
Despite what these tours have achieved in raising Iraqi oil production, which reached its lowest stage in 2007 by one and a half million barrels per day, to reach five million barrels per day after these companies carried out a comprehensive development of Iraqi oil fields in the south of the country in various aspects of this sector, production and export. Extractively, however, it faces harsh criticism, claiming its high cost and its impact on Iraq's annual oil revenues.
Investing is complicated
On the other hand, Nabil Al-Marsoumi, a professor of economics at Al-Maqel University, questioned the arrival of oil companies to Iraq to invest in gas fields, and said, "There is a reluctance by foreign investment in the field of gas and oil, and finally Exxon Mobil sold its stake in the West Qurna field." One,” noting that “the six fields that were referred by the Ministry of Oil under the fifth round were referred to small companies, and some of them are not exploratory fields.”
Al-Marsoumi pointed out that "the western region is unstable in terms of security, and the Ministry of Oil is unable to bring investments in those areas, since the existing ones are only exploratory patches and not gas fields," pointing to "the increase in the rate of adventure in an unstable security situation, and therefore Iraq must invest." associated gas in the central and southern regions.
Al-Marsoumi ruled out that Iraq would be able to achieve self-sufficiency in gas due to the fact that the domestic demand for electricity is constantly rising, in addition to its dependence on gas stations, which will increase gas consumption, noting that "if Iraq wants to be satisfied with gas, it must resort to electric stations that operate on Renewable energy, especially solar energy.[rtl]read more
You will save two billion dollars
For his part, the specialist in energy affairs, Kovind Sherwani, stated that "gas investment will save two billion dollars spent annually on importing this substance," pointing to the possibility that Iraq would turn to export, and added, "Iraq is a rich country, not only in oil, whose reserves amount to 153 billion barrels." It is rich in natural gas, whose reserves are estimated at 130 trillion cubic feet.
Sherwani pointed out that "the fifth licensing round, which includes contracts for investing in natural gas, will solve the problem of providing fuel for power stations that depend on natural gas."
He pointed out, "There are government plans to invest natural gas, but they have remained on paper over the past years, as the investment of free gas and burnt gas will lead to the non-importation of gas, which will save an amount of two billion dollars annually."
And about the possibility of investing gas in the western regions of Iraq, Sherwani stressed that the security situation is relatively stable, and there are fields in the areas of crutches and undiscovered exploratory patches, and if invested, it will provide a new resource for energy sources. export after achieving self-sufficiency.
No security concerns
Despite the concerns expressed by some researchers in the oil field, security specialists assert that the security situation in the Anbar desert can be controlled, and that it is better than other regions in Iraq.
Maan al-Jubouri, a researcher in security affairs, pointed out that "the areas of Anbar are secured, and the work of companies will prevent future security breaches." He added that "the area extending from the Jordanian border to Samawah did not witness military operations. These areas were quieter, especially since they are less densely populated and monitored." easier through towers, thermal cameras, night vision, parades, and joint patrols."
Al-Jubouri stressed that "the areas close to the Syrian border are more worrying because they are hot areas and militias and ISIS gangs are active in them, and there is a regional and international conflict over them, but this matter was dealt with by digging trenches on the Syrian border and deploying observation towers, monitoring balloons, and thermal cameras."
He pointed out that "if oil and gas projects are established, additional forces will be placed and the residents of those areas will work in those projects and they will have a role in the intelligence factor and be a means of monitoring the security forces as they are beneficiaries of those projects, and therefore they will work to protect them," noting that "the Iraqi security services have Experience in preventing direct targeting of international companies.
He considered that "