Iraq’s Oil Ministry has prequalified just seven firms to take part in its planned project to develop the Nasiriyah oil field and a new grassroot refinery in the south of the country.

The process for the Nasiriyah Integrated Project began in November last year, and 14 firms submitted their prequalification documents before the Oil Ministry’s 28 February deadline.

Technical, financial, legal, and health and safety criteria were studied by the ministry’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD), before the seven companies were announced.

Company/consortium Origin Upstream/downstream participation
Zarubezhneft Russia Upstream and downstream
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) China Downstream only
Brown Energy Group US Downstream only
Reliance Industries India Upstream and downstream
Lukoil Russia Downstream only
Total France Downstream only
JGC & Tonen General Group Japan Upstream and downstream
Source: PCLD


Of the firms that have previously been awarded oil field licences in Iraq, only France’s Total, Russia’s Lukoil and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have been prequalified. No details have been published regarding the rejected firms.

The firms are now expected to form consortiums among themselves. The PCLD is yet to announce the dates for next stage of the bidding process, although it still hopes to award the scheme by the end of the year.

The project covers the integrated development of the Nasiriyah oil field in the Thi-Qar province of southern Iraq, along with the construction and operation of a new 300,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery, the largest of Iraq’s planned new refineries. It will process crude from the nearby Nasiriyah, Gharaf and Rafidain oil fields to meet fuel demand in the south of Iraq, and also to supply refined oils to the Baghdad metropolitan area.

The Nasiriyah field has been producing about 35,000 b/d since 2009, but previous efforts to develop the field and refinery separately have been unsuccessful. The scheme’s total investment is huge, estimated at $5bn for upstream and as much as $8bn for the refinery.