Few Bidders to Develop Iraqi Oil and Natural Gas Fields
The Iraqi government stumbled once again on Tuesday in its frequently delayed effort to award development rights to its most valuable oil fields, New York Times reported.
In a public auction it largely failed to attract the lucrative offers it sought from dozens of international oil companies invited to the bidding.
After the daylong event, which was broadcast live on national television, the government came away with just a single deal struck from among the six giant oil fields and two gas fields it had put up for bid.
The single successful contract went to a joint venture of BP and the China National Petroleum Corporation for the largest field offered: Rumaila, near the southern city of Basra, which has proven reserves of more than 17 billion barrels.
The auction, celebrated by the Iraqi government as a milestone for the fledgling democracy, came on the same day as the deadline for American combat troops to pull out of Iraqi cities.
It is the most significant attempt to open up the country's oil industry since it was nationalized by Saddam Hussein in 1972, and the centerpiece of a plan to raise oil production to 6 million barrels a day by 2015, from the current level of 2.4 million.