Second Iraq Oil Licensing Round to Offer 14 Fields

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), December 1, 2008

Iraq will offer 14 oilfields in a second licensing round expected to be announced by the end of this year or in early 2009, a senior Iraqi official said Monday.

Abdullah al-Amir, an oil advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, didn't name which fields nor provide details on what sort of terms might be on offer to foreign companies.

"The second licensing round will offer 14 oilfields," al-Amir told an Iraq petroleum conference here.

Iraq, with the world's third biggest proven crude reserves, is in the process of offering six oilfields and two natural gas fields to foreign companies in the country's first ever oil-licensing round.

The country hopes the licensing round will lead to signed contracts by June 2009, though there are barriers that could delay or even derail the round. These include provincial elections at the end of January in most of the country's 18 provinces and countless details about the terms of the service-based deals on offer the Iraq oil ministry needs to clarify with foreign companies.

The government hopes the first licensing round will increase the country's oil pumping capacity by 1.5 million barrels a day to a total of around 4.0-4.1 million barrels a day by 2012 from around 2.5 million barrels a day currently.  

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