BASRA, Iraq, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The head of Iraq’s Basra Oil Company (BOC) told Reuters on Wednesday that he expects Qatar to acquire a 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ (TTEF.PA) $27 billion cluster of energy projects in the country, with the Baghdad government aiming to hold around 40%.
A major investment in the projects by a Gulf state would be an important win for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, who took office last October following more than a year of political turmoil. It would also be considered a step towards countering Iranian influence.
“Qatar is one of the promising and developed countries in this regard…we determine our percentage as an Iraqi country, and the rest is for Total and QatarEnergy…I don’t expect more than 20-25%, they are talking about 30%,” said Bassem Abdul Karim, director general of state-run BOC, referring to Qatar’s potential stake.
“The important thing for us is to set our share…Iraq is talking about 40%.”
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Talks are ongoing, Abdul Karim added. Sources told Reuters last week that Qatar was looking to acquire a stake of around 30% in the project.
QatarEnergy and TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Abdul Karim said he hopes that the contract with France’s TotalEnergies – which was signed in 2021 and requires an initial investment of $10 billion to build four giant solar, gas, power and water projects in southern Iraq over 25 years – would be activated within three months.
The deal had stalled amid disputes between Iraqi politicians over the terms of the deal, which have not been made public, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters early last year, although the oil ministry said it just “needed time”.
France and Iraq signed a treaty last month seeking to strengthen bilateral relations in anti-corruption, security, renewable energy and culture, while committing to the implementation of the TotalEnergies project.
Separately, Abdul Karim said that Iraq’s oil production from its southern oilfields currently stands at 3.59 million barrels per day.
Reporting by Aref Mohammed, writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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