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Iraq shortlists five companies for critical Basrah oil fields

Iraq shortlists five companies for critical Basrah oil fields

BAGHDAD: Iraq has shortlisted five engineering companies to bid for the first phase of a critical water-injection project that will help it boost long-term production from its southern oil fields, the director general of the state-run Basrah Oil Company told reporters Saturday.

“There are five international companies that are competing to win the project,” Ihsan Abduljabbar Ismaael said, adding that the “technical tender” will be awarded this month.

The Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP) would ultimately take in around 5 million b/d of water from the Persian Gulf, process it for field injection, and deliver it by pipeline to a half dozen fields in Basrah province.

Most of the fields in Basrah, which in addition to being the route for nearly all of Iraq’s oil exports is the country’s largest producing province, are operated by international oil companies under technical service contracts that require the government to provide water to maintain pressure.

The project has been under discussion internally and with contractors and investors for nearly a decade. It is expensive, priced at $12 billion when capacity was to be 10 million b/d of water flow.

The most recent figure used publicly was 5 million b/d of water in two phases, with phase one to be tendered in 2017, oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said last year.

Ismaael did not provide any further details, but said the tender covers a “separate project” from a multi-faceted field and infrastructure upgrade deal being negotiated with ExxonMobil. It is unclear if all or an initial aspect of the project will be removed from the Exxon project.