Arab News, Saturday, Feb 04, 2023 | Rajab 13, 1444
Basra Oil Co. head expects Qatar to take 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ Iraq project
Qatar : The head of Iraq's
Basra Oil Co. told Reuters on Wednesday that he expects Qatar to acquire a 20-25
percent stake in TotalEnergies' $27 billion cluster of energy projects in the
country, with the Baghdad government aiming to hold around 40 percent.
A major investment in the projects by a Gulf state
would be an important win for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, who took
office last October following more than a year of political turmoil. It would
also be considered a step towards countering Iranian influence.
"Qatar is one of the promising and developed
countries in this regard...we determine our percentage as an Iraqi country, and
the rest is for Total and QatarEnergy...I don't expect more than 20-25 percent,
they are talking about 30 percent," said Bassem Abdul Karim, director general of
state-run BOC, referring to Qatar's potential stake.
"The important thing for us is to set our
share...Iraq is talking about 40 percent."
Talks are ongoing, Abdul Karim added. Sources told
Reuters last week that Qatar was looking to acquire a stake of around 30 percent
in the project.
QatarEnergy and TotalEnergies did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
Abdul Karim said he hopes that the contract with
France's TotalEnergies — which was signed in 2021 and requires an initial
investment of $10 billion to build four giant solar, gas, power and water
projects in southern Iraq over 25 years — would be activated within three
The deal had stalled amid disputes between Iraqi
politicians over the terms of the deal, which have not been made public, sources
familiar with the situation told Reuters early last year, although the oil
ministry said it just "needed time".
France and Iraq signed a treaty last month seeking
to strengthen bilateral relations in anti-corruption, security, renewable energy
and culture, while committing to the implementation of the TotalEnergies
Separately, Abdul Karim said that Iraq’s oil
production from its southern oilfields currently stands at 3.59 million barrels