June 30th, 2008 | Xinhua Iraq opens six oil fields for foreign firms bidding
BAGHDAD — Iraqi oil ministry Monday announced a list of six oil fields for bidding from foreign oil companies to boost oil production in the war-torn country.
Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told a press conference in Baghdad that the fields are Rumaila, Kirkuk, Zubair, West Qurna Phase 1, Bai Hassan and Maysan.
The minister said the oil fields are open for bidding for long- term development contracts with international companies and that the Iraqi government already pre-qualified 41 firms.
All the oil fields on the list are producing oil, Shahristani said, noting that the new contracts would raise the country’s oil production by 1.5 million barrels per day.
Iraq’s current daily oil production is around 2.5 million barrels.
The six oil fields announced Monday are “the backbone of the oil production in Iraq,” but “some of them are getting too old and their production is decreasing,” Shahristani said.
“We chose these oil fields because their production rates can be raised in short time and in low cost,” he added.
He said the deadline of tender is the end of March 2009, and that preliminary contracts would be signed by next June.
He also disclosed that Iraq’s huge natural gas fields of Akkaz and Mansouriyah would be open for bidding, without giving a specific time for the bidding.
Iraq, which holds the world’s third largest crude oil reserves, needs billions of US dollars of investment to overhaul its oil industry infrastructure and increase oil and gas output after 13 years of sanctions and war.