Kazakhstan’s Kazmunaigas Exploration & Production has withdrawn from talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry over the development of the Akkas gas field in the in Anbar province of western of Iraq, according to an 11 May statement.

Together with South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas), the firm was awarded a technical service agreement for the development of the 5.6 trillion cubic feet Akkas field in Iraq’s third hydrocarbon licensing round in October 2010.

The partners agreed to a remuneration fee of $5.5 for each barrel of oil equivalent, as well as a plateau target of 400 million cubic feet a day (cf/d). This will be payable once the field reaches a dry gas production level equal to 25 per cent of the plateau production target, which must be maintained for at least nine years (MEED 22:10:10).

Although the firm holds a 50 per cent stake in the licence, there is a chance that the deal may still go ahead, since Kogas would be the field’s operator. The Oil Ministry has said it will ask Kogas if it is prepared to go it alone.

Although awarded during the licensing round in October, the deal was scheduled to be signed on 14 November. Since then, the consortium has been in negotiations with the Oil Ministry, but talks failed to resolve outstanding issues.

Kazmunaigas would not elaborate on the nature of the issues, but the deal has faced ongoing opposition from the provincial government in Anbar over possible gas exports to nearby Syria. Qasim Abid, the governor of Anbar province, along with the chairman of Anbar Council, have publicly challenged the deal. Sources close to the regional government say they will continue to oppose it unless the deal is reconfigured and implemented under their demands.