Iraq’s ministry of oil said on 23 October that a “project draft” for building a 300mn cfd gas processing project at Basra’s 50,000 b/d-capacity Nahr Bin Umar oil field has been “completed,” and will now be passed to the country’s ministerial energy council for approval. Approval from the latter, which usually is customary given the oil ministry’s recommendation, constitutes the final step before the project is approved by Iraq’s cabinet. The project has reportedly been given to ‘Halfaya Gas Company,’ a little-known subsidiary of the politically-connected Iraqi conglomerate Raban Al-Safina (MEES, 1 September). The firm has been in talks with state-firm South Gas Company (SGC) since at least April (MEES, 28 April) after being recommended for the project by Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani’s office. Plans call for development in two phases, each includes a 150mn cfd capacity processing unit, one for sour and another for sweet gas.

The process appears to be moving at a much more rapid pace than is typical in Iraq’s bureaucracy. TotalEnergies’ $27bn Gas Growth Integrated Project (GGIP) was only approved in July (MEES, 14 July), some two years after it was first signed in 2021. That said, even government approval is no guarantee of plain sailing. In June, the PM backtracked on a $416.9mn contract to Dutch maritime services provider Boskalis after accusations of corruption by a former MP (MEES, 30 June), only to re-award the project in July (MEES, 14 July). (CONTINUED - 237 WORDS)