Baghdad: Iraq will put 10 oil fields up for tender in a new round of bidding for international contracts that opens on Wednesday, the oil minister said.
In comments on state-owned Iraqiya TV late on Monday night, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said the fields would include “giant discovered but undeveloped oil fields”, such as Majnoon and West Qurna Phase II.
Shahristani said earlier this month that bidding would be opened on 31December, but the TV interview was the first time he has announced how many fields will be on offer.
“On 31 December, we will announce the second bidding round to develop another 10 fields and we are moving at high speed to develop these fields,” he told the station.
In June this year, Iraq announced a first bidding round for long-term contracts for eight big oil and gas fields. The oil ministry expects to announce the results of that round by the middle of next year.
Iraq has the world’s third largest oil reserves but its creaking oil infrastructure is in need of massive investment to boost production, which Shahristani said averages around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd).
Shahristani told the station he expected the first round of bidding would help raise production to 4.5 million barrels per day in the next four to five years.
“In the coming (second) bidding round which will be implemented after the first by a year or two, we will reach 6.0 million bpd. Such figures are astronomical considering the state of Iraq’s production in the past years.”