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The Story of the Oil Exploration in Iraq after Liberation, April 2003.

Dr. Shirzad Nazhat
International Energy Group, Erbil, Iraq

Iraq, a country of prolific oil reserves, has gone through major phases of exploration & development. Since 1901-1902, the first activity started in Chia Sorkh structure where a lot of hydrocarbons were discovered. Then, at the time of the Late Ottoman Empire, few concessions were granted, starting with Pulkhana areas in Kurdistan, North Iraq, then the famous Iraq Petroleum Company limited and the discoveries of the giant “Kirkuk Field”, followed by the other structures in the North and South, etc. Few major “halts” of activities occurred in Iraq, namely, World War l and World Ward ll, then the Iraq-Iran war that affected everything, including the oil exploration and development and eventually the economic conditions went extremely bad due to the expenses involved to cover the military side of the issue. This, unfortunately was followed by the Gulf War and in the invasion of Kuwait, and after that a lot of sanctions were imposed. Just before the Liberation of Iraq April 9, 2003, few meetings were held in Washington DC, namely the Oil and Energy Workshops and the establishment of the Exploration and Production Sub-Committee. Plans were put forward to handle the Oil Industry in Iraq after Liberation and a group was assigned to go to Iraq and take over the Ministry of Oil. Iraq was liberated April 3, 2003. The Oil Ministry in Baghdad was struggling for many reasons, the main being the absence of the Oil and Gas Law that delayed almost all the activities of Up-stream and Down-stream, lack of technical support, and the right experience to run the jobs, lack of tools, plus the security conditions which made it impossible to secure a good working environment. On the contrary, in Kurdistan Region North Iraq, more than 27 Concessions were awarded, and new oil/gas fields were discovered. Now, over 150,000 BOPD are producing plus an outstanding gas production. Over 40 agreements were signed in Kurdistan, while only very few were signed by the Central Oil Ministry in Baghdad.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90152©2012 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Fort Worth, Texas, 19-22 May 2012