Chinese Firms Secure Contracts in Iraq’s Oil and Gas Licensing Round


Iraq recently concluded an oil and gas licensing round aimed at developing its vast gas reserves and attracting significant investments. The round, which featured 29 projects across 12 governorates, including an offshore exploration block in the Arab Gulf waters, saw Chinese companies securing contracts for five fields.

Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group acquired rights to the Northern Extension of the Eastern Baghdad field and the Middle Euphrates field. China’s United Energy Group Ltd won the bid for the Al-Faw field in southern Basra, while ZhenHua secured the Qurnain field in the Iraqi-Saudi border region, and Geo-Jade obtained rights for the Zurbatiya oil and gas field in eastern Wasit.

Iraq’s KAR Group also secured contracts for two fields, including the Dimah field and the Sasan and Alan fields. Notably, this licensing round attracted over 20 pre-qualified companies from Europe, China, Arab nations, and Iraq itself, with no participation from US oil majors.

Despite Iraq’s efforts to boost its oil production capacity, which currently stands at around 5 million barrels per day (bpd), challenges remain, including the departure of major players like Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Additionally, growing investor emphasis on environmental and social criteria has slowed developments, impacting Iraq’s ambitious production targets.

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