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Sunni Arabs in Iraq demanding all profits from gas field

From Mohammed Tawfeeq and Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
  • Rights to three natural gas fields were awarded
  • The Akkas field is near Syria
  • People demonstrated in Falluja and Ramadi

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Demonstrators in a largely Sunni Arab province of Iraq demanded the future profits from a natural gas field awarded on Wednesday to a foreign consortium.

The sentiments reflect the intersection of ethnic power and energy in Iraq, where the Kurdish and Shiite regions -- but not the Sunni Arab region -- benefit financially from the oil industry.

Iraq awarded three gas fields in an auction on Wednesday, including one to a South Korean-led consortium for Akkas field, located in the desert of Anbar province near the Syrian border.

Sunni Arab demonstrators in the Anbar cities of Falluja and Ramadi filed into the streets to support an Anbar Provincial Council decision that the revenues should go only to Anbar province and its people.

Since the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003, the fortunes of Shiites and Kurds have risen and Sunni Arabs largely have felt disaffected, with many supporting insurgents. But the presence of energy resources in places like Anbar could bolster their livelihoods.

Citing agreements signed between oil companies and the government of the three-province Kurdish region, the demonstrators chanted "we support our council " and carried banners with the same message.

Led by South Korea's Korea Gas Corp., or Kogas, and Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGaz, the consortium won the 5.6 trillion cubic foot Akkas field, the largest of the three fields offered during the licensing round at the Oil Ministry.

The winning bid was $5.50 per barrel, and the targeted plateau production is 400 million cubic feet per day.

Turkey's TPAO, Kuwait Energy and Kogas was awarded the Mansouriya field in Diyala province, north and east of Baghdad. It won the 4.5 trillion cubic foot field with an offer of $7 per barrel. The targeted plateau production is 320 million cubic feet per day.

The 1.1 trillion cubic foot Siba field, in Basra province near Kuwait, was won by Kuwait Energy and TPAO. It is Kuwait's first entry into Iraq's energy sector since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The offer was $7.50 per barrel and a targeted plateau production of 100 million cubic feet per day.

CNN's Joe Sterling contributed to this report