BAGHDAD: Fourteen companies have expressed interest in oil and natural gas exploration and development contracts to be auctioned by Iraq on April 25, the oil ministry in Baghdad said.
The 14 have bought a package containing the bidding documents and terms of the contracts for the 11 exploration blocks to be auctioned, it said in a statement.
The blocks, located in border areas with Iran and Kuwait, and in offshore Gulf waters, were to be auctioned in June.
That date was brought forward to April 15 and then postponed to April 25 to give bidders more time.
The oil ministry last month announced measures to reduce the fees paid to oil companies in the contracts to be auctioned.
The new contracts will exclude oil by-products from the companies’ revenue, establish a link between prevailing oil prices and their remuneration, and introduce a royalty element.
Oil companies operating in Iraq currently receive a fee from the government linked to production increases, which include crude and oil by-products such as liquefied petroleum gas.
OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, Iraq decided to change the contracts after a glut caused oil prices to crash in 2014, reducing Baghdad’s ability to pay such fees.
Companies including BP, Exxon Mobil, Eni , Total, Royal Dutch Shell and Lukoil have helped Iraq expand production in the past decade by over 2.