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Iraq invited on Monday foreign firms to bid to develop nine new oil and gas blocks in border regions and offshore as OPEC’s second-largest producer wants to increase its production and maximize reserves.
“We invite all international companies to participate,” Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi said at a news conference in Baghdad on Monday, as quoted by Reuters.
“This new exploration bidding round aims to maximise reserves,” the minister added.
In this bidding round, Iraq will be offering five blocks near the border with Iran, three blocks close to the Kuwait border, and one offshore block in the Persian Gulf—areas that have been “neglected” before because they were in areas of 1980s and 1990s conflicts between Iraq and its neighbors, according to Iraq’s oil ministry and to al-Luiebi.
The terms of the contracts in this new round will be different from the previous service contracts, and Iraq will take into consideration the opinions of foreign firms when it drafts the new terms, the minister said.
“We are keen to make significant changes to the new exploration model contracts, and to adopt a new commercial and financial model different from the service contract,” al-Luiebi told the news conference.
According to the oil ministry’s presentation, Iraq will finalize the bidding terms by the end of May and will open the bids on June 21, 2018.
Iraq will announce the qualifying bidders on November 29, the minister said.
OPEC’s second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia has been saying for months that it wants to reach a production level of 5 million bpd by the end of this year.
The current production capacity is 4.8 million bpd, while under the OPEC deal, Iraq is supposed to be cutting 210,000 bpd off its October 2016 level for a total of 4.351 million bpd. Iraq has not complied with that level in any of the previous 10 months since the OPEC deal began.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.