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Iraq strengthens hand at OPEC with oil deals

Simon Webb,
Iraq has manoeuvred itself into a strong position for future negotiations on output quotas with OPEC after awarding deals to international energy firms that would more than quadruple its output capacity.

Emerging from the shadow of war and keen to generate petrodollars to rebuild, Baghdad has deals on the table that would lift capacity to 12 million barrels per day in six or seven years.

That would add potential for another 9.5 million bpd to Iraq’s output, a level of capacity only eclipsed by top oil exporter and OPEC’s most powerful member Saudi Arabia…
(14 Dec 2009)

Iraq Auctions Development Rights to Oil Fields

Timothy Williams, New York Times
During an auction of Iraq’s best undeveloped oil fields that concluded Saturday, Baghdad awarded international companies development rights to seven fields that within a few years could nearly double the country’s oil production.

The revenues from production would be critical to helping this oil-dependent country rebuild from the war, but significant obstacles remain to the development of the fields, including continuing violence.

While ExxonMobil and other American-based oil companies registered for the auction, none came away with a development deal on Friday or Saturday. But both ExxonMobil and California-based Occidental Petroleum are part of groups that have recently won oil field deals in Iraq.

After a week during which bombings killed more than 100 people in a single day in Baghdad, the government seized on the auction — conducted under intense security — as an unmitigated success that would be felt for generations…
(12 Dec 2009)

Majnoon win gives Shell a boost

Carola Hoyos, Financial Times
The invitation to develop Iraq’s huge oil reserves could not have come at a better time for the biggest western oil companies.

Royal Dutch Shell, in particular, is counting its blessing that Baghdad has opened up the world’s third-largest oil reserves more than 30 years after they were nationalised and six years after Saddam Hussein was overthrown by a US-led invasion force.

Shell, out of all of its peers, is struggling most to step up its production as old, profitable fields decline and new reserves are proving increasingly difficult to secure.

Moreover, the Anglo-Dutch oil group carries a very large extra burden. Shell has to fill the void left in 2004 when it was forced to cut its proved reserves by about a quarter after realising the company should never have booked those reserves with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US regulator, in the first place…
(14 Dec 2009)

Shell, Lukoil to Join Iraqi Top Producers Based on Winning Bids

Anthony DiPaola,
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and OAO Lukoil will join BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. among Iraq’s top oil producers based on their pledges in winning bids this weekend as the country auctioned 28 percent of its crude assets.

Russia’s Lukoil and partner Statoil ASA of Norway won rights yesterday to develop the second phase of Iraq’s “super giant” West Qurna deposit, agreeing to pump 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from the field within six years. Shell and Malaysian partner Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, committed on Dec. 11 in Baghdad to extract the same amount of crude from Iraq’s Majnoon field.

China National Petroleum Corp., Russia’s OAO Gazprom, and Angola’s Sonangol SA also won contracts in the two-day auction. The government in Iraq, which holds the world’s third-largest oil reserves, aims to boost production capacity to more than 12 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said….
(14 Dec 2009)