Ukrainian company wins rights to develop major gasfield in western Iraq

Akkas field in Anbar province is believed to have reserves of 5.6 trillion cubic feet of gas

Production at the Akkas gasfield is expected to increase from 60 million cubic feet per day to 100 million in two years. AFP
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Iraq signed a deal with a Ukrainian company on Wednesday to develop a gasfield in the western part of the country as part of efforts to boost its energy supply.

Ukraine’s Ukrzemresurs will increase production at the Akkas gasfield from 60 million cubic feet per day at present to 100 m cfpd within two years, Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdel Ghani said.

That will increase to 400 m cfpd within four years, he added.

Rights to develop the field in Anbar province were first awarded to South Korea's state-run Korea Gas in 2010.

Kogas signed a deal to develop it in 2011 but withdrew when the field was captured by ISIS, then retaken by Baghdad in late 2017.

Akkas is believed to have reserves of 5.6 trillion cubic feet of gas, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said.

The deal was signed after a wait of several years "because of the war against terrorist gangs", deputy oil minister for extraction affairs Bassim Mohammed Khudhair said.

The gas produced following the latest deal will power the Anbar plant and the Akkas station, he added.

Despite being Opec’s second-biggest producer, Iraq is dependent on Iran for about a third of its electricity needs.

It buys electricity and natural gas to generate power from its neighbour but still has electricity shortfalls that result in extended power cuts across the country.

Baghdad has been under pressure from the US to wean itself off Iranian energy imports, which have been subject to US sanctions since 2018.

Since then, Washington has repeatedly extended waivers to Baghdad for periods of 45 to 120 days to be able to import Iranian electricity and gas.

Iraq has taken some measures to further develop its natural gas resources and reduce the shortfalls in the electricity sector in recent years.

Last year, it signed a deal with French company TotalEnergies to develop oil and gas and renewable energy projects worth $27 billion.

Iraq holds a 30 per cent stake in the joint venture, while 45 per cent is held by TotalEnergies and the remaining 25 per cent by QatarEnergy.

The Gas Growth Integrated Project will recover flared gas at three oilfields to supply gas to power generation plants.

It will build a seawater treatment plant for providing water injection for pressure maintenance, as an alternative to the use of fresh water from rivers and aquifers.

It will also develop a one-gigawatt solar power plant to supply electricity to the Basra regional grid.

Iraq’s natural gas reserves stand at about 3,714 billion cubic metres.

Updated: April 24, 2024, 5:33 PM