PM, oil minister: delaying the 5th licensing rounds inflicted financial, environmental losses on Iraq


Shafaq News/ Delaying the hydrocarbons licensing round has inflicted huge financial and environmental losses to Iraq, Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister al-Sudani's remarks came in a speech he delivered during a ceremony celebrating the approval of exploration bids in frontier oil and gas fields.

The five-year delay in awarding the licenses has come at hefty costs for Iraq's treasury and environment, said al-Sudani.

"Our decision to invest in the natural and associated gas stems from a firmly held belief in the reforms that constitute the axis of the government program," he added.

Oil Minister Hayyan Abdul-Ghani attributed the delay to "non-technical" and "non-professional" reasons, but pledged unwavering support for the licensed companies.

"This round will raise Iraq's daily output of crude oil and natural gas to 250,000 barrels and 800 million scf, respectively," he said in a speech during the ceremony.

On February 8, a spokesperson to the oil ministry, Assem Jihad, said that the expected associated gas and crude oil daily output will increase by 1,000 million scf and 175,000 barrels, respectively, after signing the contracts of the fifth round.

This, according to Jihad, will meet 25% of Iraq's power needs.

The Iraqi government has said it plans to launch a sixth licensing round soon as it makes a renewed effort to boost domestic production of natural gas and reduce gas imports which cost the state some 10 trillion dinars ($6.9 billion) a year.

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