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Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Iraqi official begins first bid round for oil contracts in UK

AP , LONDON

Iraq’s oil minister was to meet in London yesterday with representatives of international oil companies for the first round of bidding for new contracts in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Last April, Iraq chose 35 oil companies out of the 120 that applied to participate in the bidding round to develop six major oil fields and two gas fields. Topping the list of companies are the world’s oil giants: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp, Chevron Corp and Total.

Six state-run oil companies were later added to the list and a British company was dropped since it did not submit the required documents.

Iraq sits on more than 115 billion barrels of oil, but decades of wars, UN sanctions, violence and sabotage have battered its oil industry.

As security improves, Iraq is trying to bring in foreign companies to help increase crude output from the current 2.5 million barrels a day to 4.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2013.

Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said in Baghdad that the purpose of the London meeting with Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is to present the international oil companies with the forms of the contracts and with data and details for fields being offered.

“In light of these information, the companies will be in a better position to submit their bids which are planned to be approved by next summer,” Jihad said.

The ministry will give the companies a six-month timetable from the receipt of data and other details to submit bids for a 20-year contract, another Oil Ministry official said.

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