Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi says an agreement will be signed with Iran soon to jointly invest in two oil fields shared between the two countries.
Luaibi did not specify which fields were concerned and when the agreement would be signed. Nevertheless, it would be a groundbreaking move in the history of economic cooperation between two important oil heavyweights in the region.
In August, Iraq’s Ambassador to Tehran Rajih al-Mussawi said his country was considering a plan to cooperate with Iran in the development of Azadegan oil field which the two sides share.
Mussawi added that officials from the oil ministries of both countries had already started negotiations to the same effect, adding that some “good news” would be publicized soon.
Iran’s biggest oil field in decades
Iran discovered Azadegan oil field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades. The country accordingly teamed up with Inpex to push the project toward development. However, the Japanese company later quit the project in what appeared to be the result of US sanctions against Iran.
The oil field was later divided into North Azadegan and South Azadegan. South Azadegan – which is popularly referred to only as Azadegan – is believed to be connected with Iraq’s supergiant Majnoon oil field with recoverable reserves of 13 billion barrels. It was developed by Shell and is now producing 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil for Iraq.
Shell ditching Majnoon for Azadegan?
Earlier this month, Shell announced that it had quit Majnoon. The decision was seen as part of a strategy by the global giant to sell out of its oil fields in Iraq – a move which was in line with its global $30 billion asset disposal program.
Iran announced in August that it had received proposals from Shell for the development of Azadegan as well as another field also shared with Iraq named Yadavaran – both located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Shell signed a basic agreement with the NIOC in December 2016 to study the investment potentials in South Azadegan and Yadavaran as well as the Kish gas field.