Iraq in Talks With Iran to Tap Joint Oilfields

Iraq in Talks With Iran to Tap Joint Oilfields  Iraq in Talks With Iran to Tap Joint Oilfields

Iraq says it has started negotiations with Iran and Kuwait to resolve the issue of exploitation of joint oil wells, Rai al-Youm reported.

Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi stressed that his ministry will seriously pursue the issue in a bid to increase and diversify Iraq's oil and gas production.

Iraq shares 24 oilfields with Iran, Kuwait, and Syria, from which 15 are currently producing oil and the rest have remained untapped. The discussions are related to Safwan and Rumaila, Zubair fields Iraq shares with Kuwait, and 5 joint oilfields with Iran, including Bazargan, Naft-Khaneh, Abu Gharb, Majnoun and Fakkeh.

The Iraqi official stated that resolving matters relating to the joint fields will require joint action from all neighbors.  

Iraq relies on oil imports for 95% of its budget. The country produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, with expectations to increase production to 4 million barrels a day. The Iraqi government relies on international oil contracts to raise the country's output of crude to around 8 million barrels per day in the next few years.

The Iraqi minister said that his country is working in accordance with three strategic plans to increase oil and gas production. First one is to hold international tenders for its oil projects; the second is to make use of domestic companies' potentials, and the third element is to develop joint oilfields through cooperation with neighboring countries.

Abdul-Mahdi said that his ministry is seeking to invest in newly surveyed fields by putting them to international tender or relying on capabilities of local companies.

Iraq's oil exports rose slightly in February to a record 2.597 million barrels per day, compared with 2,560 in January.

Meanwhile, Iran plans to increase oil production from North Yaran oilfield, a joint Iran-Iraq field, to 15,000 barrels per day by June 2015 and to 30,000 barrels by April 2016, IRNA reported.

The oilfield is located on the zero border point and a major part of it lies within the Iraqi territory.

About 5,000 barrels of crude oil is currently produced in this field, which is to increase to 30,000 barrels.

Work was halted until recently at the field but after the oil minister stressed for the speedy expansion of joint West Karun fields, the operation resumed.

The process of drilling new wells continues and 30,000 meters have been drilled in the past eight months. 20 oil wells are to be drilled in the field of which 7 have been completed so far.