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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Reliance shortlisted for Iraq's Nasiriya oilfield contract

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries was today named in a shortlist of seven international firms to develop Iraq's giant Nasiriya oilfield.

The contract is part of a major downstream production operation to develop the 4 billion barrel oilfield and will also involve the construction of a 300,000 barrels per day refinery in the southern Iraqi city.

The tender - issued by the Iraqi Oil Ministry - named Reliance alongside French energy major Total, Russia's Lukoil and Zarubezhneft, CNPC of China, American company Brown Energy and Japanese firm JGC and Tonen.  

The seven firms will now be invited to review data packages and discuss terms with the contract awarded by the end of the year.

Iraq has three main refineries - Baiji, Daura and Basra - with a total capacity of around 567,000 barrels per day (bpd).

It wants to increase the refining capacity to 750,000 bpd through  improvements in existing plants.

The contract would mean a re-entry into Iraq's lucrative and largely untapped energy sector for Reliance Industries.

The company’s Dubai-based subsidiary Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC had in 2007 taken a 100 percent stake in the Rovi and Sarta blocks in Kurdistan in Northern Iraq.

Baghdad however, termed the award of exploration contract to RIL and other firms by the autonomous Kurdistan region as illegal and threatened to blacklist any firm that dealt with the Kurds.

A year after the blacklisting threat, RIL did not apply for being shortlisted for development of oil fields in Iraq.

Thereafter, it did not figure in the list of companies applying to bid for successive licensing rounds of Iraq.

RIL finally got rid of the Kurd blocks in July last year when it sold its stake to Chevron Corp for an undisclosed sum.

- Imran Raja

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