4th Round Energy Auction: Only 2 more Fields Awarded

Iraq’s government signed deals for only three of the 12 oil and gas exploration blocks offered in its fourth energy auction, which ended on Thursday, reflecting reluctance of foreign bidders to risk money in unexplored areas.

Russia's LUKoil, along with partner Inpex Corp of Japan, won the deal for the 5,500-square-kilometer Block 10 in Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces in the south of the country. The group will be paid $5.99 for each barrel of oil equivalent it finds.

A bid from Pakistan Petroleum also won gas Block 8 in Diyala and Wasit provinces in eastern Iraq. It will receive $5.38 per barrel of oil equivalent.

Four other blocks and two from the first day that were re-offered received no bids.

The second day of bidding followed a sluggish start to the auction Wednesday, when only one block was allocated.

Washington Post reports that Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said the government is not disheartened: "We do not consider three successful bids as a disappointing matter, taking into consideration that foreign companies in general do not like to take risks on unexplored areas."

(Sources: Bloomberg, Washington Post, NINA, RT)

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