Iraq again postpones Kazakh, Korean gas deal

February 24. Central Asia Newswire

Iraq again postpones Kazakh, Korean gas dealIraq’s oil ministry has put on hold the signing of an initial agreement with Kazakh energy giant KazMunaiGaz and a Korean gas corporation to develop an Iraqi gas field in western Anbar province, news sources reported on Thursday.

Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said provincial officials are not happy with their cut from the deal, which the energy majors were to have signed Thursday with Oil Ministry authorities in Baghdad, the Reuters news agency reported.

Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told the media in the Iraqi capital that Anbar officials want more control over how the revenue is spent, the Associated Press reported.

The Kazakh-Korean consortium won bidding in an auction last October to develop the 5.6 trillion cubic foot Akkas gas field.

That day Anbar officials of Anbar – a former Al Qaeda stronghold – protested they wanted more jobs out of the contract and managed to postpone the signing which the three sides had initially planned to pen in November 2010.

But earlier this week a lawyer representing the Iraqi ministry said all disagreements with provincial authorities had been resolved.

“The oil ministry met with Anbar local officials to submit clarifications for the deal and all misunderstandings were resolved. Now Anbar provincial authorities are happy and promised to show support and cooperation for the companies that will develop the Akkas gas field,” the Reuters news agency on Monday cited Sabah Abdul Kadhim, a lawyer for Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, as saying.

The 50-50 venture between KazMunaiGaz and Korea Gas Corp., known as Kogas, expects to produce 400 million cubic feet of gas a day, at a price of $5.50 per barrel of oil equivalent.