ONGC Videsh to explore Iraqi field

Indian company ONGC Videsh Ltd. signed a contract to explore an Iraqi oil field, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency. OPECNA said the award of the contract for the exploration of Block 8 in Iraq's western desert is dependent on work being performed during the United Nations trade embargo.


Indian company ONGC Videsh Ltd. signed a contract to explore an Iraqi oil field, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency.

OPECNA said the award of the contract for the exploration of Block 8 in Iraq's western desert is dependent on work being performed during the United Nations trade embargo.

Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rasheed said Iraq would not sign any contract with foreign companies unless they carried out work during the sanctions that were imposed on Iraq in 1990. The sanctions bar Iraq from investment in its oil sector and free export of its crude oil.

ONGC Videsh, a subsidiary of Oil & Natural Gas Corp., submitted its commercial offer for the block in 1998, but the contract was renegotiated last August at Iraq's request.

The block is close to the Abu Khema oil field, which the ONGC discovered in 1974-77, said OPECNA. That field could produce 12,000 b/d.

Meanwhile, Rasheed was critical of Russian and Chinese companies for failing to honor contracts to explore Iraqi blocks.

He noted that Russian oil giant Lukoil and other members of a consortium signed a deal in 1996 to develop the second phase of West Qurna. He also said China National Petroleum Corp. and China North Industries Corp. had signed a deal to develop the Al-Ahdab Field in southern Iraq.

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