The country is also ready to fill the shortfall in India’s crude oil imports
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily, on Thursday, said Iraq had offered three discovered oil fields to India on nomination basis. The Middle-Eastern country, according to Mr. Moily, also expressed its willingness to fill up the shortfall in crude oil supplies to India created by U.S. and EU-sponsored sanctions against Iran.
In addition to this, Iraq also offered to renegotiate an oil block that has been pending since 2000. In view of the sanctions against Iran, which led to decline in crude oil imports from Tehran, Iraq has emerged as the second largest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. “Iraq has offered to give state-owned Indian oil firms Kifil, West Kifil and Merjan, discovered oil blocks in the Middle Furat oilfields, on nomination basis,” Mr. Moily told reporters here. Mr. Moily, during his last week trip to Iraq, had met Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al Motlaq.
Mr. Moily, who was in Baghdad for attending the Indo-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting , said that the offered oil fields were already discovered, and work on them could start immediately. “This is the first time in the recent past that an oil-rich nation has offered fields on nomination basis. Previously, Iraq and other Gulf states had asked India to participate in an international competitive bidding to get the oil fields,” he added.
Mr. Moily said Iraq had offered to supply crude oil to India to make up any kind of gap that had occurred due to decline in supplies from Iran. “They have assured that they were ready to supply as much as India wants. We will finalise our requirements soon after due negotiations. It is also open to considering more favourable commercial terms, including extending the interest-free credit period from 30 to 60 days,” he said. At the same time, Iraq has also agreed to renegotiate the contract for Block 8 with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Ltd (OVL). Block-8, located in the Western desert in Southern Iraq bordering Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, was awarded to OVL in November 2000 by the Saddam Hussein regime.
Block 8 already has a discovery, and is estimated to hold 645 million barrels of in-place reserves, of which 54 million are recoverable. The contract for all the four blocks would be a service contract wherein OVL will be paid a fixed per barrel fee for its efforts in exploring and producing oil.
Iraq also agreed to consider investing in the upcoming 15 million-tonne a year oil refinery of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Paradip in Orissa. It has also been decided to establish a urea plant and phosphate fertilizer unit as joint sector projects in the Al-Qaim/Al-Anbar area of Iraq. The natural gas for this plant would be tied up by the Iraqi government. India also expressed its intention for immediate import of sulphur from Iraq.