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Total’s $27bn Iraq project expected to begin in 2 weeks  

Person, Human, Pipeline Reuters/Pascal Rossignol
The consortium drilling in Block 9 includes the Italian energy group Eni and the state-owned QatarEnergy

Iraq and TotalEnergies expect to kick-start a long-delayed $27 billion project within the next two weeks, Iraq’s oil minister Hayan Abdel Ghani said.

At a conference in Baghdad he said he expected five side agreements related to the deal to be signed in the next two weeks, paving the way for implementation to commence.

The deal was signed in 2021 for TotalEnergies to build four oil, gas and renewables projects with an initial investment of $10 billion in southern Iraq over 25 years, but it was delayed amid disputes between Iraqi politicians over terms.

Iraq said last month it had agreed to a smaller 30 percent stake in the project, reviving the deal that Baghdad hopes could lure foreign investment back into a country enjoying relative stability after years of conflict and tensions.

QatarEnergy will also have a share in the project.

“We confirm that discussions are advancing,” a TotalEnergies spokesperson said.

Chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said last week the two sides had reached an agreement on Iraq’s stake in the project.

“I think (it) is a good setup with our finalising of all the paperwork,” Pouyanne said on TotalEnergies’ first-quarter results call last week.

“The government of Iraq confirmed the whole contract, no modification at all … so that was for me more than good news,” Pouyanne said.