Iraq Official: To Announce Cos Qualified For Oil Bids Monday

AMMAN, April 11, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Iraq will announce Monday those international companies qualified to bid for tenders to develop one of the world's largest oil fields, an Iraqi oil ministry official said Friday.

"Names of qualified companies will be announced on Monday at 12 o'clock local time (0900 GMT)," the official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Baghdad.

The ministry in February said that some 70 international companies had filed registration documentation to the ministry to take part in a future tender to develop Iraq's oil fields with proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels, the world third-largest. Oil Minster Hussein al-Shahristani said some 115 companies sent documents.

The ministry had asked international oil companies to register with the newly set up Contracts and Licensing Office of the Ministry early January and set Monday Feb. 18 as the final day for receiving registration documentation. It said only registered firms can bid for tenders to develop Iraq's vast oil reserves, the third-largest in the world.

The ministry has been studying and checking the documents since the Feb. 18 deadline, the official said.

Major oil companies such as BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Repsol YPF, Total SA, ConocoPhillips and Italy's Edison SpA are among firms that have said they sent or were intending to submit documentation.

Companies that have signed deals with the Kurdish semiautonomous rule are likely to be excluded from the Iraqi oil ministry's list to take part in Iraq's oil fields development, Iraqi oil officials have said.

Kurdish authorities have signed contracts, mostly production-sharing agreements, with around 20 international companies to develop oil and gas fields in their region. These deals have angered the federal oil ministry in Baghdad, which has declared them illegal and said foreign companies who signed these contracts would be blacklisted.

Iraq is currently tendering technical support agreements, or TSAs, that will help increase production in the country's largest oil fields by 500,000 barrels a day. Iraq is currently producing around 2.4 million barrels a day.

Iraq is also planning to issue the first round of tenders to develop some of its prized oil fields during the second quarter of this year, according to al-Shahristani.

AMMAN, April 11, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

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