Iraq to speed up oil contract bidding process
Oil Ministry to decide upon awarding new blocks within the next few weeks as key dates are brought forward.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry has announced that it intends to award oil and gas exploration and development contracts in 11 new blocks on April 15, according to Reuters.
The date of June 21 had previously been earmarked for when the bidding round would commence for the blocks, located in regions close to the borders with Iran and Kuwait, and in offshore Gulf waters.
Relevant documents will be made available to oil companies planning to make offers on April 13, Reuters reported citing a local official. The offers will have to be submitted 48 hours later on April 15 and the successful parties will be announced on the very same day.
Supermajor oil firms have helped Iraq ramp up its production in recent years and it is now the second largest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, after Saudi Arabia, pumping out around 4.7mn barrels per day.
One such international operator, Royal Dutch Shell sold off its entire holding in the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Iraq just last week for more than $400mn to Japan’s Itochu Corporation.
It is understood the new contracts will also put a time limit on ending the practice of gas flaring which currently costs the country around $2.5bn in lost revenue per annum. The natural gas burnt off could substantially support the nation’s power generation needs.