Iraq signs gas deal with Pakistani energy firm

Iraq signs gas deal with Pakistani energy firm

Iraq on Monday signed a deal with a Pakistani energy company to explore natural gas at a block of land in eastern Iraq, an oil ministry official said, Xinhua reported.

"The Iraqi Oil Ministry signed the final service contract with Pakistan Petroleum to explore for natural gas in Iraq's eastern provinces of Diyala and Wasit," the official from the ministry's media office told reporters during the ceremony at the ministry building in eastern Baghdad.

The Pakistani company, which won the exploration concession in late May, is due to invest some 100 million U.S. dollars to work in a 6000 square km block stretches in Diyala and Wasit with presumed natural gas reserves.

The company won the five-year contract after it offered 5.38 dollars per barrel of oil equivalent, and was accepted by the Iraqi ministry.

The ministry also signed a major joint venture deal with a consortium of Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi to capture and monetize associated natural gas produced in southern Iraq.

The country has proven reserves of 112 trillion cubic feet (3. 17 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas, but due to the poor infrastructure of the oil and gas industries, the country was only producing 1.5 billion cubic feet a day.

In 2010, Iraq announced its proven oil reserves had increased to 143.1 billion barrels, rising from the previous estimation of 115 billion barrels.

The country depends on oil revenues for nearly 95 percent of its budget.

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