(Adds quote, context)
BAGHDAD, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Algerian state energy company Sonatrach will study possible investments in oil exploration and natural gas projects in Iraq, the Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement cited comments by Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi and Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni, who arrived in Baghdad on Sunday.
The Algerian delegation will hold meetings with Iraqi energy companies “to achieve concrete steps toward sealing a cooperation agreement with Sonatrach”, said Luaibi, mentionning specifically projects to develop Iraq’s gas wealth.
Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted alongside crude oil at its fields because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel for local consumption or exports.
Algeria is a main supplier of gas to Europe, exporting it by pipelines to the continent and also shipping it on tankers after liquefying the gas in special plants.
Guitouni expressed hope of strengthening cooperation in oil exploration and natural gas, the Iraqi ministry statement said.
Iraq is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest crude producer behind Saudi Arabia, with output of 4.4 million barrels per day. Fellow OPEC member Algeria has estimated output of 1 million bpd. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by John Stonestreet and David Goodman)