Iraq's oil ministry said on Tuesday that it would unveil model contracts for oil and gas exploration blocks to pre-qualified international companies on 11th September, kicking off a process that will culminate with the award of contracts in January, according to a report from Platts.
Iraq launched its first post-war exploration round in April, offering 12 blocks in various parts of the country as part of a bid to raise oil reserves by an estimated 10 billion barrels and gas by 29 trillion cubic feet. But the oil ministry has not given details about the type of contracts it plans to offer.
The oil ministry statement quoted Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedi, director general of the ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD), as saying that it would present the draft contract at the meeting in Amman, Jordan, on September 11. Data packages and technical information on the blocks along with tender protocols will be available a day later.
Interested companies will have six weeks to submit recommendations and requests for clarification on the documents before a November roadshow to discuss the technical and contractual details, after which a final contract would be drafted, he said.
The fourth bidding round will be held in January 2012, when the contracts will be awarded.
The oil ministry has qualified 41 companies for the exploration round, including several of the multinational companies that have already been awarded long-term service contracts for development of oil and gas fields in three previous auctions held in 2009 and 2010. Out of the 41 companies, 30 qualified as operators and 11 as non-operators.
Ameedi said that only companies qualified as operators would be allowed to submit bids while non-operators would have to form a partnership with or join a consortium headed by a company qualified for operatorship.