Basra Establishes Regional Development Company to Attract International Oil, Gas and Infrastructure Investment

Basra - home to 70% of Iraq's gas reserves and 59% of its oil - offering investment opportunities in key sectors and provides a secure environment for developers to enter Iraq Basra Council - the political authority for Iraq's economic capital - has announced that it is in the process of establishing Basra Company, a regional development company charged with boosting the economy in the Governorate, through the attraction of foreign direct investment in key sectors, including oil, gas and infrastructure.
Speaking at the Basra Oil, Gas and Infrastruture Conference, officials from Basra Council and Basra Governorate announced plans to develop under-utilised and degraded oil and gas fields, as well as a range of new infrastructure projects. The conference marks the start of a round of international engagement for the Council and Govenorate as they look to promote opportunities in the region. Basra Governorate is home to 70% of Iraq proven gas reserves, estimated at almost 112 trillion cubic feet - the 12th largest in the world according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Basra also contains 59% of Iraq's oil reserves. However, the condition of many of the fields has suffered as a result of years of sanctions and war.
However, political authorities are now looking to open the city up to the world, capitalizing on dramatic improvements in security in recent years, and partner with international businesses, with the aim of unlocking the city's huge potential.
The Federal Government of Iraq is currently in the process of awarding development contracts for the Zubair, Rumaila (north and south), West Qurna, Majnoon and Siba fields, in addition to fields in Maysan Governorate. Other fields already under the supervision of the Federal Government include Al-lahis, Nahur Umr, Ratawi, Toba, Suba, and Sinbad fields.
Many of these fields have suffered from neglect, leading to low productivity. Current operators have limited capabilities to maximise their potential, providing opportunities for partnership and development. The aim of the Basra Company will be to help attract global players and investors to bring new and extant fields up to international best standards.
Ali Al Faris, Chairman of the Oil and Gas Committee of Basra Council commented, "We believe that the provincial government has a significant role to play in stimulating the local economy. Basra Company will be established in line with the constitution, federal laws and policies of the Federal Government of Iraq.
"Basra Company is the vehicle through which the provincial government will optimize utilization of resources and position Basra as the economic engine of Iraq. We will be looking to work with international businesses that are capable of developing oil and gas fields which are not covered under current licencing, as well as cooperating with the federal government to improve production, refineries, and transport. The company will also work on promoting investment in other key sectors including water, electricity, education, heath, agriculture, and transport."
Mr Al Faris added, "We are looking to work with legal consultants to develop best practice legislation, as well as technical, financial and business firms to work on feasibility studies, geological surveys and other areas central to the success of the company.
"We are studying a range of options for financing, including partnerships with local and international investors to finance the projects of Basra Company, which could be wholly owned by the council or in partnership with South Oil Company and South Gas Company, as well as other local companies. An IPO is also being considered to allow Basrawis to own shares in the company".