September 28, 2011

Iraq expresses caution at energy summit

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Iraq might need to restructure part of its oil sector but an official added that shouldn't deter investors from flocking to the country.

Adnan Janabi, the head of the energy committee in the Iraqi Parliament, told delegates at an energy conference in Istanbul that Baghdad's production targets weren't final figures.

"I don't think 12 (million), 13 (million), 14 million barrels daily is cast in iron," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

Iraq scheduled its fourth bidding round for 12 exploration blocks for January. Janabi said, however, that market conditions could play a role in future expectations.

"Probably we need to revise our aims and time schedules for the future," he was quoted as saying.

Janabi's committee said it was examining several issues within the oil sector and laws regulating the national energy sector. Much of the country, he stressed, hadn't been explored by energy companies.

"I don't want to discourage anyone from this area," he said.

His cautionary statements followed a visit to Baghdad by ENI's Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni. Scaroni, in meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said his company was interested in expanding its footprint in the country at the January auction.

ENI plays a role in Iraq's Zubair oil field, one of the largest in the country.