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Mott MacDonald sees great opportunities in Iraq


Mott MacDonald’s director of oil, gas and petrochemicals, Azfar Shaukat, told attendees at the recent Iraq Petroleum Conference of great potential in the oil and gas sector, but warned companies they will have to be patient until significant investment is found.


The event, held at the Landmark Hotel in London, UK, focused on the next phase of developing Iraq’s oil and gas resources as well as the current and future upstream opportunities. It was attended by international oil and gas companies from 70 countries together with key Iraqi oil and gas industry experts.

In his presentation Azfar told delegates that at present Iraq is losing, through flaring, in excess of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of associated gas a year. This is gas produced as part of oil production that has historically not been captured. In addition the gas infrastructure in the country is inadequate for the planned volumes and will need significant investment to upgrade.

“The primary focus for Iraq is to improve the reliability and availability of electricity to its population, and since this is planned to be gas-fired, most of the associated gas will be consumed by new power stations,” Azfar commented.

Mott MacDonald has been active in Iraq for more than 50 years and in the last six years has delivered over a 1,000 projects in Iraq covering health, transport, power, and water. They are supporting major energy companies in the development of oil and gas fields which involves asset surveys and working with the state and international companies to come up with the right solutions to refurbish and upgrade oil and gas facilities in order to increase production.

Azfar said, “With targeted oil production associated gas output could rise to 70 bcm per year, equivalent to roughly three-quarters of UK annual consumption. However, although neighbouring countries and Europe are interested in gas from Iraq, the actual amount of gas available for export will be very limited over the next 5-10 years.”