Dec 27 2012
By Basem Hussein
Azzaman, December 27, 2012
A consortium of foreign firms developing one section of Iraq’s massive oil field of West Qurna has officially asked for the employment of 7500 new workers, according to Fareed al-Ayoubi, head of the Oil and Gas Commission in the southern Province of Basra.
“We have officially received a request from foreign firms developing West Quran Phase II for the employment of 7500 workers,” Ayoubi said.
West Qurna is the second largest oil field in the world with recoverable reserves estimated at more than 43 billion barrels.
Several oil firms are involved in its development among them Russia’s Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil. The two firms have the rights to develop Phase II of the giant field under a service agreement that entitles them to $1.15 of each barrel they produce.
The request for employees is the largest so far by a foreign consortium developing Iraqi oil fields. The consortiums will spend tens of billions of dollars in developing Iraqi oil fields, but they expect to good returns once oil starts flowing.
The field is located west of Basra and to the north of Rumaila field, currently the largest producing filed in Iraq.
Ayoubi said preferential treatment in employment will be given to the inhabitants of Basra. He said the newly employed will sign a five-year employment contract and “will earn very decent salaries.”
Basra is one of Iraq’s most underdeveloped provinces despite its being the biggest oil producer in the country.
Iraq’s largest oil fields are located in Basra and Ayoubi expected demand for workers will substantially increase in the near future with more foreign firms on their way to start development in earnest.
Exxon Mobil and Shell have won the contract for the development of West Quran Phase I. The consortium was to spend $50 billion to develop their part of the gigantic fields. The operating fees were to create tens of thousands of new jobs but work has been delayed as Exxon Mobil has decided to withdraw from the field.
There has been a surge in Iraqi oil output. With new fields coming on stream, the country expects to raise production to 3.7 million barrels a day in 2013.
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