Iraq OKs Three Exploration Deals, Delays Decision on One

The Iraqi cabinet Tuesday approved exploration deals with an OAO Lukoil Holdings-led group, an OAO Bashneft-led group and Pakistan Petroleum, and delayed making a decision on a contract with a Kuwait Energy-led consortium, a government spokesman said.

Earlier this year, Baghdad awarded four exploration blocks, out of 12 that had been put up for auction, to: Lukoil and partner Inpex Corp. of Japan; OAO Bashneft and U.K.-based Premier Oil PLC; Pakistan Petroleum; and Kuwait Energy and partners state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corp., and United Arab Emirates-based Dragon Oil PLC.

"The cabinet has approved service contracts for blocks number 8, 10 and 12, while it delayed decision on block 9 until the oil ministry completes certain procedures related to it," Ali Al Dabbagh said in an emailed statement.

Lukoil's overseas arm and Inpex were awarded block 10 located 120 kilometers west of the southern Basra governorate.

Bashneft and Premier Oil were awarded block 12 located between Muthanna and Dhiqar governorate in southern Iraq.

Pakistan Petroleum won block 8 located in Diyala and Wasit provinces in central Iraq.

The Kuwait Energy-leg group was awarded block 9 located near the Iranian border.

Baghdad has already signed initial deals with these companies, but following the cabinet's approval final signatures are required.

Iraq, holder of the world's third-largest oil reserves, has signed over the last two years several oil deals with international companies that are expected to bring the country's output close to that of the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.


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