Reuters reports that Iraq's Oil Ministry has excluded American oil firm Hess Corp from competing in its 4th energy auction because the company signed deals with Iraq's northern Kurdish region.
As we reported last week, Hess was one of the 41 companies pre-qualified for the auctions, but it was not included on a new list of 40 qualified firms issued on Monday.
"We decided to remove Hess from the pre-qualified companies after it signed two deals in the Kurdish region," Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of the oil ministry's contracts and licensing directorate, told Reuters.
"The Oil Ministry is committed to not dealing with any oil company that signs oil contracts with the Kurdish regional government without the approval of the central government and the Iraqi Oil Ministry," he said.
In late July Hess signed production sharing contracts with the KRG, in partnership with Petroceltic International Plc, for the Dinarta and Shakrok exploration blocks.
Iraq's 4th bidding round for 12 new exploration blocs, scheduled for late January, is expected to add 29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 10 billion barrels of oil to Iraqi reserves. The auction will focus mainly on gas exploration.
Iraq will meet with executives from 40 oil and gas companies at a roadshow on Sept. 11 in Amman, Jordan and present a data package with initial tender protocols to the companies on Sept. 12.