Iraq gives some of the tightest margins of any Mena oil producer, and it shows. The largest majors operating in Iraq netted barely 250,000 b/d of crude in 2018 (see table). And that was down from around 350,000 b/d in 2017.

This is largely due to Baghdad’s technical service contracts (TSCs) which have always proven highly unpopular with foreign operators (MEES, 22 September 2017). The arrangement repays firms for investment whilst offering an infinitesimally small slice of the pie. Particularly for Iraq’s largest fields in Basra, the contracts offer remunerations that work out to below $1/B – among the least competitive worldwide. (CONTINUED - 894 WORDS)