Iraq’s year-long political vacuum has held up attempts to finalize TotalEnergies’ nascent $27bn Iraq megadeal first inked 14 months ago (MEES, 10 September 2021). But with a new government now in place key obstacles are being removed. TotalEnergies has also arguably benefited from the Iraqi Supreme Court’s dismantling of the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC). The French major never appeared comfortable with the previous administration’s attempts to shoehorn INOC into the project (MEES, 23 September).
In early October, CEO Patrick Pouyanné told MEES that the partnership with INOC proposed and backed by former oil minister Ihsan Ismaail “was not in our contract.” Having an Iraqi state partner would complicate project capex cash flow given that finances would have been procured via the parliament-approved federal budget. This is something that Shell and Mitsubishi have learned the hard way by partnering with oil ministry subsidiary South Gas Company (SGC) at the Basrah Gas Company (BGC: SGC 51%, Shell 44%, Mitsubishi 5%) joint venture. (CONTINUED - 1182 WORDS)