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Talks between French oil major TotalEnergies and Iraq to resolve sticking points in a long-delayed US$27-billion energy deal “have reached advanced stages,” Iraqi oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani said on Sunday.

“We will activate the deal very soon,” Mr. Abdel-Ghani said at an energy event.

The proposed deal, which Baghdad hopes will revive foreign investment in the country, was signed in 2021 for TotalEnergies TTE-N to build four oil, gas and renewables projects with an initial investment of US$10-billion in southern Iraq over 25 years.

However, disputes between Iraqi politicians over the terms of the deal.

Iraq’s demand for a 40-per-cent share in the project is a key sticking point while TotalEnergies wants a majority stake, sources told Reuters.

Asked if the issue of Iraq’s share in the project was resolved, Mr. Abdel-Ghani said: “It’s not the time to discuss the shares and we will announce them when an agreement is reached.”

Mr. Abdel-Ghani also said that Iraq is committed to maintaining its 220,000 barrel a day oil output cut in line with its quota under the latest OPEC+ agreement.

The country is also ready to increase production if required to do so by producer group OPEC+.

“We obliged some oil companies operating in the south to cut production to come in line with OPEC+’s agreed rates,” he added.