Iraq postpones fourth energy bidding round


Iraq has postponed its fourth energy bidding round to March 7th-8th 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 January 25th-26th, but Iraq's Oil Ministry decided to push the date back for technical reasons.

Upcoming holidays

"We wanted to give energy companies more time to study the contract terms and also to take into account upcoming holidays like 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 blocks which is expected to add 29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10 billion barrels of oil to Iraqi reserves.

New deadlines

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

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

Oil and gas reserves

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

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