The France-based company TotalEnergies has signed a contract with Iraq for investment in solar, gas, and oil production, as well as ways to exploit it.
TotalEnergies used to be known as Total, but the oil giant and lubricant maker changed its name to reflect a more diversified range of business as it seeks to navigate the energy transition. The company will initially invest some $10 billion and will use the proceeds to reinvest a further $17 billion. Ihsan Ismail, Iraq’s oil minister, said about the contract:
“This is the largest investment in Iraq by a Western company. Implementing these projects is the challenge we face now.”
TotalEnergies has long been considering a deeper relationship with Iraq. Back in January, its CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, tweeted:
“Happy to be in Basra where I visited gas and oil fields. Reducing flaring and increasing gas production is a priority for Iraq as well as for Total. Let’s work together!”
In line with these comments, part of the investment will focus on using excess gas for energy generation rather than venting or flaring it. Iraq has vast gas and oil reserves, yet it is currently experiencing an energy crisis, with frequent blackouts. A third of its electricity and gas is imported from Iran, which Iraq owes $6 billion for energy supplied so far.
A solar farm will also be built in Artawi to generate about a thousand megawatts of electricity – about the same as a nuclear reactor – while other projects will seek to increase production at existing operations.