Speaking at an energy conference, Hayan Abdul-Ghani, the Minister of Oil in Iraq, said that the country’s talks with France-based TotalEnergies are at an advanced stage, meaning that a paused $27 billion deal may be able to progress.
The deal in question was originally signed in 2021. It would see TotalEnergies initially invest $10 billion in four projects in southern Iraq, with these being focussed not just on oil, but also renewable energy and natural gas. The deal marked a welcome return of foreign investment to Iraq, with many oil majors having divested their Iraqi assets in favour of other destinations.
Unfortunately, disagreements over how to implement the deal’s terms have so far prevented it from being realised. Reuters reports sources as saying that Iraq’s insistence on holding a 40% stake is a major sticking point, as it conflicts with TotalEnergies’ desire to be a majority stakeholder.
Nevertheless, Abdul-Ghani refused to comment on whether this obstacle had been resolved, saying it was not the appropriate time and adding that the allocation of shares would be announced once the agreement is finalised. He also reaffirmed Iraq’s commitment to keeping crude oil production in line with its OPEC+ quota, although he said Iraq was ready to increase production should the OPEC+ group agree to do so.
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