Iraq, Iran agree to Resolve Dispute on Joint Oil Fields

By Sara al-Qaher for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

On Feb. 20, the Iraqi Oil Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian Oil Ministry to settle disputes over the joint oil fields and examine the possibility of building a pipeline to export crude oil from the Kirkuk fields, in the north of Iraq, through Iran. The ministry also wants to study moving Iraqi crude oil to the Iranian Abadan refinery.

According to an Iraqi Oil Ministry statement, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi agreed with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh during the latter’s visit to Iraq on coordinating their stances in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to achieve balance in the global oil markets, support oil prices and study the construction of pipelines to export crude oil from Kirkuk fields through Iran.

Five Iraqi oil fields are situated along the border with Iran: Dehloran, Shahr, Paydar Gharb, Aban and Al Noor. Baghdad and Tehran share the fields of Majnoon, Abu Ghraib, Bazerkan, Al-Fakkah and Khana. These fields contain huge reserves of light crude oil close to the earth’s surface and reserves exceeding 95 billion barrels. This is the largest reserve of hydrocarbons in the Middle East.

On Feb. 2, Iranian companies resumed drilling 20 new oil wells in the southern Azadegan field, which is one of the shared oil fields between Iraq and Iran.

Oil and Energy Committee member of parliament Ahmad Madloul told Al-Monitor that most disputed oil wells are Iraqi, according to the maps that were published before the Iran-Iraq war. But Iran believes otherwise. The agreement will be decisive for settling the dispute. He said, “If a joint committee is not formed, the oil wells will bring bigger problems in the future for both countries.”

He asked that the committee identify, when formed, the proprietorship of the lands first to find out who rightfully owns the oil wells on the shared borders.

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