France’s Technip, one of the world’s largest oil and gas contractors, will open an office in Iraq by the end of the first quarter of 2010 to try secure billions of dollars of oil and gas construction work in the country over the next decade.

Technip expects Iraq and Iran to provide important investment opportunities between 2012 and 2015, once the peak in the GCC oil and gas projects market has passed.

“We believe we will be one of the first international [engineering, procurement and construction] players in Iraq,” says Arturo Grimaldi, senior vice-president for the Middle East at Technip. “We will open our own office there soon and hope to be the first to be there and be awarded projects.”

Technip has held talks with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani during the last few months over establishing an office.

In February 2009, Iraq’s State Company for Oil Projects (Scop) awarded Technip a Feed contract to design a new refinery in Karbala (MEED 20:2:09).

In December, oil majors will bid in the country’s second post-war licensing round for contracts to develop 10 oil and gas fields.

On 13 October, Iraq awarded a 20-year deal to develop the Zubair field to a consortium of Italy’s Eni, South Korea’s Kogas and US oil major Occidental Petroleum.