According to a variety of sources, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani has said that talks with a Japanese energy consortium over the development of the Nassiriya oil field have broken down.
“The talks reached a deadlock and we aren’t going to meet again,” Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, head of the ministry’s petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, told Dow Jones Newswires.
But a spokesman for Nippon Oil Corp, one of three Japanese firms in the consortium, denied the reports and said he didn't understand what the minister meant by his remarks. The other companies in the consortium are the oil producer Inpex and the construction firm JGC.
The US$8 billion deal was being negotiated outside the framework of the two oil licensing auctions that were held last year.
It is expected that tenders could be invited for a special bidding round later in the year.
(Sources: Dow Jones, The National, Middle East Online)