Iraq will develop its Nasiriyah oilfield on its own after talks with a Japanese-led consortium failed to reach a conclusion, Reuters reports.

Japanese firms Nippon Oil Corporation, Inpex Corporation and JGC Corporation were negotiating an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal with Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) for the development of the southern Nasiriyah oilfield.

“Talks with the Nippon group have reached a dead end, and we will start developing the field through national efforts,” said Dhiya Jaafar, head of the SOC on 28 February, Reuters reports.

The Japanese consortium submitted bids for the EPC contract to Iraq’s Oil Ministry in February 2009, along with Spain’s Repsol and Italy’s Eni. The government had hoped a contract would be signed by the end of 2009. In November, sources in Baghdad said they were close to signing with Nippon, although there were some issues to be clarified.

Iraq plans to drill 10 oil wells in Nasiriyah this year, says Jaafar. “We are capable of boosting production from Nasiriyah from 10,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 50,000 b/d by the end of 2010.”

The field, which was not included in either of Iraq’s current bid rounds, has reserves of about 4.4 billion barrels of crude. Baghdad estimates the Nasiriyah field has the potential to produce 100,000 b/d of oil within 18 months.