TotalEnergies awaits solution on $27bn Iraq energy deal: CEO

RIYADH (Reuters): The stalled agreement between Iraq and TotalEnergies over a $27 billion energy project has yet to find a resolution, the French oil major’s Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said at the firm’s climate update on Tuesday.

TotalEnergies agreed in September 2021 to invest in four oil, gas and renewables projects in Iraq’s southern Basra region over 25 years, with an initial $10 billion.

But the deal, which Baghdad hoped would reverse the exit of oil majors from the country, has been stuck amid disputes over terms.

The deal was tested by elections and the change of government following the signing, Pouyanne said. Iraq’s new government, voted in last October, insists the country take a 40 percent share in the project, which has been a key sticking point, sources said.

TotalEnergies needs the new government to confirm the contract signed in September 2021 before closing the deal, Pouyanne said.

“For the time being we didn’t get it. If we don’t get it, to be honest, I cannot expose a company to a mix of risks,” Pouyanne said. “Iraq is not the easiest place to invest with all risk. … We know the energy security situation and we know the geopolitics situation.”

“I hope we find common ground. I worked on it in the last month, but again, we need to have this political answer,” he said.

Iraq’s oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani said on Sunday that talks between TotalEnergies and Iraq regarding the deal “have reached advanced stages.”