Iraq Invites Unqualified Cos to 2nd Oil Tenders Launch

AMMAN (Dow Jones Newswires), Dec. 30, 2008

Iraq has invited international oil companies which haven't been qualified yet by the country's oil ministry to take part in Wednesday's announcement of the second round of tenders to develop its vast oil and gas fields, a senior ministry official said Sunday.

"Companies which submitted their documents to the ministry for qualification but haven't been qualified yet are eligible to take part in Wednesday's announcement," the official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Baghdad.

Earlier this year, the ministry pre-qualified 35 international companies, which included oil majors, to take part in the first bidding round of tenders which was announced in June.

The companies which haven't yet been qualified by the ministry need to telephone or email the ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate to register for Wednesday's announcement of the new tenders, he added.

Oil ministry officials declined to name the new fields but a source close to the negotiations with international oil companies said that 10 groups of oil and gas fields would be included in the second bidding round of tenders.

"Big fields would be offered for development, each separately, while smaller fields would be joined together and offered for investment," the source said.

He said most likely super giant fields such as Majnoon, Halfaya and West Qurna -2, all located in southern Iraq, and Qayiarah and Najmah in the northern Nineveh province (Mosul) are expected to be included in the second bidding round.

Other fields under consideration by the ministry are al-Gharraf in southern Iraq and fields in the Diyala province in the north. In central Iraq, fields such East Baghdad, Kifl, and West Kifl and Marjan in Najaf and Kerbala provinces are also under consideration, sources said.

The first bidding round covered six oil fields - Kirkuk and Bai Hassan in northern Iraq, Rumaila, Zubair, West Qurna -1 and Missan in southern Iraq. The two gas fields are Akkas in western Iraq and Mansouriyah in the east of the country.

Iraq hopes to increase its crude oil production to 4.5 million barrels a day in five years' time and to 6 million barrels a day in 10 years' time from 2.5 million barrels a day.  

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