According to Indian media reports, state firm ONGC Videsh is mulling re-entry to Iraq some two decades after declaring force majeure near the Saudi and Kuwaiti borders. ONGC’s former block includes the Abu Khaima field which has recently been put on offer part of the LR5+ round (MEES, 19 May). If serious, the Indian company may choose to either participate in the planned bid round or attempt direct negotiations.
Iraq has been top crude supplier to India in recent years (MEES, 3 February) but Russia has surged ahead in recent months, including a record 2.1mn b/d for May, more than twice Iraqi volumes (MEES, 30 June). With its market share threatened by cheaper Russian Urals crude Baghdad wants to strengthen bilateral oil trade with New Delhi, and enticing Indian firms to invest in its energy sector was on top of the agenda for Oil Minister Hayan Abdulghani’s 20 June visit to India (MEES, 7 July). (CONTINUED - 153 WORDS)