Iraq Oil Ministry in $17 Billion Basrah Gas Company Joint Venture

November 27, 2011

Cleary Gottlieb is acting as counsel to the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq in connection with the Basrah Gas Company project, a joint venture between South Gas Company (an Oil Ministry affiliate), and affiliates of Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi Corporation. The transaction agreements were signed on November 27, 2011.

The purpose of the 25-year project is to gather and process associated natural gas that is produced at three giant oil fields near Basrah, in the southern part of Iraq. Currently, most of the associated gas is flared due to a lack of processing capacity, resulting in significant environmental damage and economic waste. The problem will become more acute as oil production from the fields is increased – studies show that associated gas production from the three fields could increase from its current level of 700 million standard cubic feet per day to over 2 billion standard cubic feet per day.

Under the transaction agreements, the parties will create a new company, Basrah Gas Company, in which South Gas Company will hold a 51% interest, Shell 44% and Mitsubishi 5%. BGC will process associated gas from the three fields, extracting liquids such as condensate, propane and butane for sale in Iraq and for export. The remaining dry natural gas will be used in Iraq, primarily to product electric power. If the volume of gas produced is greater than domestic requirements, BGC may construct a Liquefied Natural Gas plant or other export facilities. The total investment requirement is currently estimated at $17 billion.