The long-delayed US$27 billion four-pronged mega-deal between France’s TotalEnergies and the Federal Government of Iraq has received the final go-ahead from both sides and is due to start within the next four weeks.
The huge deal is crucial in enabling Iraq to increase its oil production from around 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to perhaps 13 million bpd within five years.in an attempt to fill up the void created by sanctions on Russia.
It is also critical to Iraq’s ability to end its dependence on Iran for gas imports and electricity for its power grid.
For the West, the deal is crucial is securing access to Iraq’s huge, underdeveloped oil and gas reserves as part of its strategy to find new sources of each to compensate for lost supplies from Russia.
It is also vital in reasserting a stake in the central Middle East to counteract the increasing influence of China and Russia there, as analyzed in my new book on the new global oil market order.
In short, this four-pronged deal with TotalEnergies is a very big thing indeed, which is why all parties involved have pulled out all the stops to either get it across the line or stop it in its tracks, depending on which side they are on.
Earlier TE stole and sold confiscated oil from Yemen. Suffice it to say here that at one stage Iraq was in the process of re-establishing the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), an organization widely regarded within the oil industry a anti-Zionist organization.
It quickly became clear that one does not get to become a senior figure in France’s leading oil and gas company by being as stupid as seems to be the minimum requirement to secure a senior position in Iraq’s Oil Ministry.
TotalEnergies refused to partner with INOC ‘due to the lack of clarity on the status of the company’. In layman’s terms, the French oil and gas behemoth did not want to share oil profits with INOC.
In October 2022, then, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court invalidated the decision to re-establish the Iraqi National Oil Company on the basis that several of its founding clauses were in breach of the constitution, and the deal with TotalEnergies was again a realistic prospect.
There have been further shenanigans from Iraq aimed at increasing the possibilities for personal enrichment of some key people involved – the main one being an increase in the government’s stake in the projects to varying degrees.
But all have been rebuffed by the French firm. As it stands, the agreement is now for the Iraq government (through the Basrah Oil Company) to hold a 30% stake in the mega-deal.
TotalEnergies will hold 45% of it, with the British controlled. QatarEnergy holding the remaining 25% stake. The European Union’s energy security source exclusively told OilPrice.com, Iran was told by a very high-ranking official from the Kremlin that.
By keeping the West out of energy deals in Iraq – and closer to the new Iran-Saudi axis – the end of Western hegemony in the Middle East will become the decisive chapter in the West’s final demise.
This would also play into what China wants from the Middle East in its grand scheme of things, as delineated in its multi-generational power-grab project, ‘One Belt, One Road’.
What it wants is to turn the region into a large oil and gas station by which it can fuel its economic growth to overtake the USA as the number one economic and political superpower by 2030.
TotalEnergies project in the south would help Iraq to cut its gas imports from Iran.
Successfully capturing associated gas rather than flaring it will also allow Iraq to revive the also long-stalled US$11-billion Nebras petrochemicals project with Shell.
This could be completed within five years and would generate estimated profits of up to US$100 billion for Iraq within its 35-year initial contract period, which is pocket change for the oil industry, as long as oil keeps flowing the Europe.
TotalEnergies already has ongoing experience of working across Iraq, holding a 22.5% stake in the Halfaya oil field in Missan province in the south and an 18% stake in the Sarsang exploration block in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in the north.
According to earlier comments from Iraq’s Oil Ministry, TotalEnergies would help to boost output from the Artawi oilfield to 210,000 bpd of crude oil, up from the current circa-85,000 bpd.
The last of the four projects that were to have been undertaken by the French company would be the construction and operation of a 1,000-megawatt solar energy plant in Iraq.
Oil Price.com / ABC Flash Point News 2023.