By SAMYA KULLAB Associated Press
BAGHDAD (AP) – French energy giant Total has signed mega-contracts with Iraq worth $ 27 billion to develop oil fields, natural gas and a crucial water project that , officials say, will be essential for the oil-rich country to maintain crude production.
The agreements were signed Sunday in the presence of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to a statement from the Ministry of Petroleum.
Total has signed contracts with the ministry to develop the Ratawi oil field in southern Iraq, a gas processing platform to capture natural gas from five southern oil fields, and a much needed project to process the Gulf seawater and injecting it into reservoirs to maintain oil production levels.
A fourth project has been signed with the Ministry of Electricity for the construction of a 1000 megawatt solar power plant.
It is the most lucrative and ambitious deal signed by an oil giant in Iraq in years and comes as other international oil companies have taken steps to withdraw from the Iraqi oil sector.
There was no immediate declaration from Total.
Iraq urgently needs to develop local gas resources to meet the demand for electricity, especially during the most intense summer months. The country is heavily dependent on Iranian gas and electricity imports, which have been spotty in recent months due to delinquencies and high demand in Iran.