Iraq Plans Tight Security to Protect Oil Bid Round Venue

AMMAN (Dow Jones), Dec. 8, 2009

Tight security measures will be imposed at the Iraqi oil ministry later this week when international oil companies bid for licenses for some of the country's prized oil and gas fields, a senior Iraqi oil official said Tuesday.

His assurances came shortly after a series of massive explosions rocked central Baghdad. Iraqi police reported that at least 35 people were killed in five attacks in the city.

Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, deputy director general at the oil ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, said that security authorities would secure all roads which lead to the ministry headquarters in Baghdad where the auction will take place on Friday and Saturday.

"The area will also be protected by air and land surveillances," Ameedi told Dow Jones Newswires.

Over the last few weeks, suicide attackers have blown up key government buildings such as the headquarters of the justice, finance, and foreign ministries in central Baghdad.

Iraq is offering 10 groups of oil and gas fields to international oil companies which include some of the country's supergiants such as Majnoon and West Qurna Phase 2, each with proven reserves of nearly 13 billion barrels.

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