Together with Kuwait Energy and the UAE’s Dragon Oil, the TPAO won the rights to explore a 900-square-kilometer (350-square-mile) area in the oil-rich Basra province. The consortium will be paid $6.24 for each barrel of oil equivalent it finds. The latest tender yielded the fifth contract for the Turkish company in Iraq. The tender came as part of Iraq’s fourth postwar energy auction which drew a cool response from foreign energy companies Wednesday, dealing a setback to the country’s hopes to dig itself out of years of conflict and sanctions and develop its vast untapped hydrocarbon reserves. On the first day of the sale, the only successful bid was made by TPAO’s consortium as four proposed oil and natural gas exploration deals found no bidders and a fifth was withdrawn after a British-led group refused to accept the Iraqi government’s price. The bidding was to continue Thursday for six other blocks.
More than a year in the making, the current licensing round was touted by Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Karim Elaibi as a key step to boosting Iraq’s energy sector. In his opening remarks on Wednesday, Elaibi said his ministry will “spare no efforts to help and support the companies as partners in achieving our common interests.”