Iraq will develop its Mansuriyah gas field near the Iranian border using state-run firms after the delay and failure of international oil companies (IOCs) to resume work at the field, as well as developing the Nassiriya oilfield in the south of the country, Reuters reported.

In 2011, Iraq signed deals with a group led by the Turkish state-owned TPAO that included South Korea’s Kogas and the Kuwait Energy Company to develop the Mansuriyah field located in the tumultuous Diyala province.

TPAO halted work at the field in 2014 due to security concerns over the foothold of Islamic State militants in the country.

In September 2017, the Iraqi oil ministry asked TPAO to resume work at the field, which has since failed to happen.

Meanwhile, Iraqi security officials have stated that small groups of militants are still active in the mountains of the province and capable of launching hit-and-run attacks against security forces and power installations in the area.

“We need to start gas production from Mansuriyah to feed the power stations and cope with electricity shortages,” an oil ministry official stated.

Oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad stated that having state firms develop Mansuriyah will help to produce the gas needed for nearby power stations and cut fuel imports.

Iraq plans to produce up to 100 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) of gas in a year, which will rise to 325 mcf/d in “coming years.”

The oil ministry has ordered two state-run companies to develop the Nassiriya oilfield in the south of the country, Dhi Qar Oil Co. and Iraq Drilling Co.

Nassiriya has over 4 million barrels of reserves and currently produces 90,000 barrels per day (b/d); Iraq has budgeted $140 million to increase the production to 200,000 b/d within a year.

Iraq has failed to attract investment for the field, which is needed to build a refinery to process crude from the region. Gas recovered from the refining process would be used to fuel local power stations or export.