Iraq Fails to Sign Contracts With Global Oil Majors
Iraq is negotiating with Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total, and a consortium of other smaller oil companies, Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said at press briefing.
"We did not finalise any agreement with them because they refused to offer consultancy based on fees, as they wanted a share of the oil," he said.
"The TSAs (technical support agreements) are only simple consultancy contracts to help us raise the production during the interim period" before the ministry enters into long-term contracts to develop the oil and gas fields.
Last week, oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told AFP that it would sign the support contracts on Monday and award longer term deals to 41 other energy companies.
Iraq wants to ramp up output by 500,000 barrels per day from the current average production of 2.5 million bpd, about equal to the amount being pumped before the US-led invasion in March 2003.
Exports of 2.11 million bpd currently form the bulk of the war-torn nation's revenues, and the oil ministry is keen to raise capacity over the next five years to 4.5 million bpd.
Iraq's crude reserves are estimated at about 115 billion barrels, but it is sorely lacking in infrastructure and the latest technology to which it was denied access under years of international sanctions after the 1991 Gulf War.
© 2008 Agence France Presse