Iraq oil minister calls for contract review

23 August 2016

Ministry looks to cut international oil company fees when prices are low

Iraq’s new oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, said the ministry will review contracts with oil companies to cut fees when crude prices are low.

The Oil Ministry said in a statement that Al-Luaibi discussed the contract review with Michael Townshend, the head of Iraq operations for UK-based oil major BP, on 22 August.

Crude prices have dropped significantly since the majority of production-sharing agreements were signed between Baghdad and international oil companies (IOCs) toward the end of the last decade.

An Iraqi energy sector official told MEED in February that the contracts need to be changed significantly to reflect lower prices.

“The contracts that they signed front loaded cost and were based on high-oil-price scenarios. They did not consider anything below $50 [a barrel],” said Luay al-Khatteeb, senior adviser to the federal parliament of Iraq’s committee for energy policy and economic reform.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Iraq had reached an agreement with BP, Shell and Lukoil to restart stalled investment in oil fields to allow crude production to increase in 2017.

Iraq appointed Al-Luaibi, the former head of the country’s state oil firm, as its oil minister in a cabinet overhaul in mid-August.

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