ERBIL, (Kurdistan 24) - Iraq has reached a preliminary agreement with major American and Chinese oil firms on terms of a project aimed at increasing its oil production to 8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2023.
The current rate of oil production is about 4.8 million bpd.
Iraq's Oil Ministry, ExxonMobil, and PetroChina have been negotiating for approximately three years on the deal, known as the South Integrated Project, which, if successful, will achieve several key goals toward increasing the efficiency of the nation's petroleum industry, Platts reported on Thursday.
"We need to agree on the fiscals," Abd al-Mahdi al-Ameedi, Director General of the ministry's Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate told the press, but added that "the scope of work, the schedule, and cost" had all been agreed to.
Among the ambitious plans in the deal are using the development of two fields in southern Iraq to pay for gas plants, a water injection project needed to boost reservoir pressure, and repairs or upgrades to multiple parts of Iraq's often inadequate oil extraction and transport infrastructure.
A week earlier, Iraq held a fifth bidding round for oil and gas fields and exploration blocks with international oil companies, awarding 6 of a total of 11 blocks offered. Such exploration, if properly executed, would significantly increase Iraq's chances of reaching its production goals.
The contract has received initial approval by the government of Iraq, Ameedi said, but won't be signed and sent back to the Council of Ministers for final approval until May 10, two days before parliamentary elections.
This leaves likely the possibility that the contract's finalization will be indefinitely postponed, pending the formation of a new government in a country with institutions often incapacitated by sectarianism and political instability, the report added.