Iraq signs initial deal with KOGAS for gas field

BAGHDAD - Iraq has finally signed a preliminary deal with South Korea's KOGAS to develop the Akkaz field in the western province of Anbar, an oil ministry official said on Thursday.
"We signed the preliminary contract yesterday with KOGAS to exploit the Akkaz field for a period of 20 years," said Abdul Hamid al-Amidi, the head of the ministry's contracts department.
The Iraqi government originally awarded the development project in November to a joint bid from Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas and the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), but the former pulled out last month.
Baghdad then asked KOGAS to develop the field on its own.
Akkaz, with estimated gas reserves of 5.6 trillion cubic feet, was discovered in 1992 in Iraq's northwestern region, near the border with Syria, in the western province of Anbar.
Since the field was awarded in November, the official signing of the contract to develop Akkaz has been delayed over disputes between federal and local authorities.
Iraq's Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi said in February that Anbar provincial officials wanted the two companies to be contractually obliged to build housing and improve public services in exchange for the right to develop the gas field.
Another oil ministry official said on Thursday that contracts to develop the Siba gas field in the south and Mansuriya in central Iraq, awarded to foreign firms at the same time as Akkaz, would be finalised soon.