The Iraqi government says it has opened six oil fields to international bidding, in an effort to boost the nation's oil output.
Iraq's oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, on Monday, announced
35 companies that would be qualified to bid on developing the fields of
Rumeila, Zubair, Qurna West, Bai Hassan, Kirkuk and Maysan. The foreign
firms include the major Western oil companies of Shell, ExxonMobil,
Chevron, BP and Total.
Shahristani says the new contracts will raise Iraq's oil production by one-point-five million barrels a day.
Iraq currently produces two-point-five million barrels of oil per day
and hopes to raise that to four-point-five million in the next five
The country's oil ministry announced last week that it also will sign short-term oil service contracts during the next month.
"The New York Times" said major oil companies were negotiating service contracts without bidding. But the Associated Press quotes the Iraqi government spokesman (Ali al-Dabbagh) as saying the country never considered such an arrangement.
Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and BP, or their predecessors, had been
partners in the original Iraq Petroleum Company, dating back to the
1920s. They had stopped operating in Iraq in 1972, when the country's
oil industry was nationalized.