Iraq Cabinet Approves 3 Oil & Gas Deals

Source: Reuters 9/25/2012, Location: Middle East

As part of Iraq's drive to attract investment to develop its energy sector, the cabinet has approved three oil and gas contracts awarded to foreign firms in a May auction, the government spokesman said.

Iraq, a member of OPEC, is expected to be the world's biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years. It has signed contracts with international oil companies and plans to open up more bidding rounds for additional oil and gas blocks.

Cabinet approved an initial gas exploration contract with Pakistan Petroleum for gas block 8 and another deal with a group led by Lukoil to develop Iraq's oil block 10, spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

It also approved an initial deal with Russia's Bashneft to develop Iraq's oil block 12, but decided to delay approval of a contract signed with a consortium led by Kuwait Energy for oil block 9.

"Cabinet decided to delay approval of a contract for block 9 until the oil ministry completes some of its procedures," Dabbagh said, without giving more details.

Contracts approved by cabinet are ready for final signing by Iraq's oil ministry.

A handful of international companies won bids in May at Iraq's fourth energy auction, which had a poor showing because of tough contract terms drawn up by Baghdad.

The country is slowly rebuilding more than nine years after a U.S.-led invasion that toppled former President Saddam Hussein.

Officials say it needs foreign investment in virtually every sector to improve its infrastructure.


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