Iraq plans to invite international oil companies to develop the giant Nassiriya oilfield in a bidding round later this year, a senior Iraqi government official said on Monday.
Pre-qualified Japanese companies will be invited to develop the field, along with other interested global oil firms, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani told reporters, according to a report from Reuters.
"Iraq shall announce a bidding round for the Nassiriya oilfield in the coming period of this year, and we will invite pre-qualified Japanese companies to compete with other international oil firms," Shahristani told reporters in a joint news conference with Japan's Economy and Trade minister.
Iraq said last year it would develop the Nassiriya oilfield on its own after months of talks with a Japanese group led by Nippon Oil, a unit of JX Holdings reached a dead end over financing issues.
Iraq and Japan agreed to cooperate on oil and natural gas developments and power plant construction when Japanese Trade Minister, Akihiro Ohata, held meetings with Iraqi officials yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement from the ministry in Tokyo reported by Reuters.
In May, output from Nassiriya was 10,000 barrels per day, and Iraq's plan was to raise it to 50,000 bpd this year, Dhiya Jaafar, head of state-run South Oil Company, told Reuters in an interview in the southern oil hub of Basra.
The largely undeveloped Nassiriya field is listed as having reserves of under 5 billion barrels.
(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)