Iraq Delays 4th Energy Auction to March 2012

Source: Reuters 10/10/2011, Location: Middle East

Iraq has delayed its 4th energy bidding round to March 7-8 next year when it will award contracts for gas and oil exploration in 12 new blocs, an oil ministry official said. The energy auction was scheduled to have taken place on Jan. 25-26, but Iraq's oil ministry decided to push the date back for technical reasons.

"We wanted to give energy companies more time to study the contract terms and also to take into account upcoming holidays like Muslims Eid and Christmas," Sabah Abdul-Kadhim, the head of the legal section of Iraq's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, told Reuters.

Iraq has qualified 46 energy companies to participate in the auction for 12 new exploration blocs, which is expected to add 29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10 billion barrels of oil to Iraqi reserves.

Under revised timeframes, energy companies have until Nov. 11 to submit their feedback on the exploration model contracts and a final tender protocol and final contract will be published on Jan. 27, Abdul-Kadhim said.

Iraq set a new deadline of February 3 for interested companies to pay the participation fees. The 4th round will focus mainly on gas exploration.

OPEC member Iraq sits on the world's fourth-largest oil reserves and flares around 700 million cubic feet of gas every day at its southern oilfields. Iraq's estimated gas reserves of 112 trillion cubic feet (tcf) are the world's 10th largest, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.


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