October 14, 2008

Iraq Opens Bids for Oil and Gas Fields

The Iraqi oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani has met with representatives of pre-qualified international oil companies to open bidding for the development of eight oil and gas fields accounting for approximately 40 billion barrels of oil reserves, the first such move since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.

Iraq, which is estimated to have around 115 billion barrels of oil, is hoping to increase production to 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from the current 2.5 million bpd. The country's oil ministry is seeking to boost export revenues by increasing capacity to 4.5 million bpd by 2013.

The Kirkuk, Bai Hassan, Rumaila, Zubair, West Qurna Stage-1 oil and gas fields, the three Missan oil fields and the Mansouria and Akkas gas fields are open for bidding. International oil companies will be presented with tender protocol, contract terms, legal and technical details to bids for the 20-year contracts.

Iraqi state-owned oil companies are expected to retain majority interest in companies that will be established to operate the fields, while international oil companies can own up to a 49% stake. The oil companies who have successfully bid for the fields could also receive a share in profits.