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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Iraq Oil Ministry Tenders Northern Gas Field Development: “Royal Dutch/Shell (RD, SC) is formulating a master gas plan, aimed at allowing Iraq to use gas more efficiently.” ( Posted 4 Jan 05





BAGHDAD -- Iraq's oil ministry has issued a tender inviting international firms to bid for the development of a natural gas field near Kirkuk, northern Iraq, Dow Jones Newswires has learned.


The State Company for Oil Projects, or SCOP, called for bids to develop Kormor gas field, 80 kilometers east of Kirkuk, which is expected to produce around 220 million cubic feet of gas a day.


The tender is the fifth oil ministry contract for major work in Iraq's energy sector and the first to focus on natural gas, an area of development that the oil minister has previously singled out.


The ministry has already named the winners of the Khormala Dome oil field development and will soon award the Hemrin oil contract. The Suba-Luhais contract is also due to be issued, along with two studies into the country's northern and southern oil fields.


The Kormor tender announcement, a copy of which was obtained by Dow Jones Newswires, said the project includes building processing facilities, such as dehydration and condensate separation units and a sweetening unit.


"Bidders shall give their offers based on carrying complete basic and detailed design works, supply of equipment and materials needed for the works with an option of carrying out construction works separately," the announcement said.


SCOP said the closing date for buying the tender documents from its headquarters in Baghdad is Jan. 31 and the closing date for receiving bids is by 0900 GMT March 1.


The oil ministry has been announcing tenders over the last few months to upgrade oil installations and oil fields hit by three wars and 13 years of U.N. trade sanctions, lifted in May 2003.


Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban has said he will focus on developing the country's natural gas reserves, which are estimated at 110 trillion cubic feet. Two other gas fields that the minister has previously slated for development are Akkaz and Mansuria.


"It is unfortunate that in the past the value of gas was not recognized and during oil exploration and production activities gas was considered to be an inconvenience and was flared off," Ghadhban said in the October issue of Shell's Middle East magazine. "We believe that Iraq could be one of the region's big gas exporting countries and that Iraq might be able to contribute to the supply of gas to southern Europe in the future," he said.


Royal Dutch/Shell (RD, SC) is formulating a master gas plan, aimed at allowing Iraq to use gas more efficiently.


Last week, the oil ministry awarded the country's first postwar oil-field development contract for Khormala Dome to a consortium of the UK's DPS, Turkey's Avrasya Technology Engineering and Construction Inc., and Iraq KAR Group.


-By Hassan Hafidh; Dow Jones Newswires; + 964 7901 912 214:


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