(Updates with gas reserve details in second paragraph.)
Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq seeks $1.5 billion in natural- gas investments in the country’s next licensing round of energy rights set for March, a senior petroleum expert on the prime minister’s advisory commission said.
Gas from the seven or eight concessions to be offered for bids can be brought to market as early as 2015, Natik al-Bayati said today at a conference in Istanbul. He estimated Iraq’s gas reserves at 130 trillion cubic feet, 80 percent of which is associated gas found together with deposits of crude oil.
Iraq had the fifth-biggest gas reserves in the Middle East in 2010, according to data from BP Plc. While the government relies mostly on sales of crude for revenue, it wants to produce gas as fuel for power stations, which are unable to meet domestic demand, and eventually as an export product.
Al-Bayati said the country expects to add about 30 trillion cubic feet in proved reserves over the next 10 years. Iraq may have additional, unproved reserves of 100 trillion to 300 trillion cubic feet, of which 80 percent is probably non- associated gas, he said.
Iraq has signed 15 gas and oil licenses since the U.S.-led invasion overthrew former President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The government plans a new, fourth round of oil and gas exploration rights for March.
--Editors: Bruce Stanley, Rob Verdonck
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