Iraq has qualified 41 companies to participate in its 4th energy bidding round, which is scheduled to take place in late January, Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of the oil ministry's contracts and licensing directorate, told Reuters on Sunday.
The 4th bidding round for the 12 new exploration blocs is expected to add 29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10 billion barrels of oil to Iraqi reserves from the auction.
Ameedi said the next step would be inviting the 41 companies to a roadshow on Sept 11 in Amman, Jordan and presenting a data package with initial tender protocol to companies on Sept 12.
Iraq was scheduled to make an announcement of pre-qualified companies on June 30, but some issues relating to company documentation forced further delay.
"Some companies posted required documentation to places like Iran by mistake and others asked for more time to sort out bank issues, so we had to delay announcement," Amedi said.
Iraq's oil ministry also excluded companies which have contracts with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from the qualification process, Amedi said.
According to the Reuters report, companies qualified range from oil majors, including BP Plc, ExxonMobil and Italy's ENI, to state-run firms like Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp.
The announcement of the qualifications may also lead to a clash with an Iraqi parliament energy panel chief who said in May he wanted the bidding delayed until lawmakers approve a long-stalled new hydrocarbons law.