When, on 20 October 2010, the former oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, announced the winning tenders for the gas fields in the third licensing round, he was met with strong opposition in the provinces
The field has an estimated reserve of more than two trillion cubic feet of gas, and the companies clarified how the gas would be extracted and manufactured.
“Production will respond to local demand and provide power plants, petrochemical factories and all gas-related industries with their needs. Only the surplus will be exported", explains Jihad.
By the end of the meeting, he says, Anbar provincial council promised to give its backing to these companies, once it was assured that the contracts would bring the province many advantages.
The Oil Ministry will provide jobs for 85% of the province\'s workforce in the project, as well as access to revenues, as stipulated by the petrodollar law. This allocates to oil and gas-producing provinces US$1 for each barrel of oil and US$1 for each 150 cubic meters of gas extracted from the province.
In addition, two gas pipes supplying gas to power stations will be installed, and Iraqi companies will sign contracts with these companies to carry out construction work.
These promises of investment seems to have quelled opposition to the projects.
Sheikh Ahmad Abu Risha leads a tribal list with 9 of the 29 seats in Anbar. He is happy with the agreement that will see the Ukaz field providing 250 megawatts of electricity to the province and 1800 megawatts to the Heet Thermal Station.
“We need to invest in industry and agriculture and not be solely dependent on oil and gas”, he says. “If such an amount of energy is secured, it will benefit those sectors too."
The Korean Kogas company, which won the tender to develop the Ukaz field, has already begun its work, and production is expected to start within two years.