Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anbar Objects To Iraq’s October Natural Gas Auction

Map of the 3 natural gas fields to be auctioned off Oct. 20, 2010
Source: Energy-Pedia News

On October 20, 2010 Iraq’s Oil Ministry will hold an auction for three natural gas fields. One of them is Akkas in Anbar province. There the governor and provincial council are demanding that they, and not Baghdad be in charge of developing the field.

Anbar’s governor and the head of the provincial council both talked with Reuters recently to voice their objections to the Oil Ministry’s plans. Governor Qasim Abdi Muhammad Hammadi al Fahadawi said he was against any government deal for Akkas. He claimed the field should be under local control instead. He warned that the province would not provide any security for Akkas if it was auctioned off. The head of the provincial council also said that Baghdad had ignored Anbar’s natural resources, and that the Oil Ministry should start exploring for gas and oil there.

Akkas has an estimated 5.6 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. It, along with Mansuriya in Diyala, and Siba in Basra, are going to be bid on by thirteen international companies tomorrow. Originally, the auction was supposed to occur on September 1, but was then delayed until October 1 to try to draw up more interest. It was set back again until October 24 because the Ministry claimed several companies had asked for additional information on the process. Some of the businesses that have paid fees to participate are Italy’s Edison, France’s Total, South Korea’s KOGAS, and Russia’s TNK-BP.

Anbar’s objections are just the latest example of a province calling for greater control over its resources. The Oil Ministry however, clams that it has the ultimate authority over developing the country’s petroleum and gas, and has done little to appease local concerns. That could lead to problems between the central and provincial governments if Akkas is successfully bid on. At the same time, the Oil Ministry doesn’t rely upon the governorates to manage and export resources so Anbar is limited in what it can do about the gas auction.

SOURCES

Rasheed, Ahmed, “Iraqi province wants more say over energy riches,” Reuters, 10/18/10

1 comment:

Maury said...

70% of Iraq's natural gas is associated with oil production. And, 70% of that is still flared off. Yes, Iraq made a deal with Shell to capture and use that flared gas. So much for state planning. If, by some miracle, Iraq does increase oil production 5-fold in the next 5 years, natural gas production will increase at the same rate. Unless smugglers find some way to profit from it, that natural gas will get wasted as well.