Ali Jassim, head of the Iraqi oil ministry’s Oil Exploration Company (OEC) subsidiary told state-run Iraqi News Agency on 6 November that Chinese state firm CNOOC “has started its work in implementing a joint study contract for 2D seismic and geophysical surveys to explore hydrocarbon deposits in the Iraqi offshore in the north of the Arabian Gulf.” CNOOC was initially awarded a contract in 2019, but work was held up because of the pandemic and Iraq this year resuscitated the deal (MEES, 14 January).

Mr Jassim implies that offshore exploration might only start after a “marine cleaning tender” is awarded by CNOOC to a “specialized” contractor. The plan includes exploring a 530km² block offshore Basra, while OEC conducts work on 120km² of adjoining onshore acreage, although this now appears set to be conducted in cooperation with CNOOC. Former OEC director Basem Khudair said earlier this year that one exploration well apiece is also to be drilled onshore and offshore. Last year, OEC expanded its 2D surveys to the Umm Qasr and Sanam oil fields. The latter is a cross-border field known as Abdali in Kuwait (MEES, 15 October 2021). (CONTINUED - 185 WORDS)