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Iraqi oilfields put up for sale

On 13 October, at a meeting in London, Iraq’s oil minister, Hussein Shahristani, put eight oil and gas fields, representing about 40% of Iraq’s known oil reserves, up for grabs.

According to press reports, foreign oil companies were told they will be allowed to access up to 49% of each field; and, rather than receiving a flat fee for pumping the oil, they can bid for a share of the extra revenue they generate.

The oil ministry has reportedly said that contracts could run for up to 20 years and a profit rate of 18% would be “acceptable”. This is very high for known fields with a minimum of uncertainty about finding oil.

The list of pre-qualified companies includes most of the western oil majors such as Exxon Mobil and Shell, as well as state-owned oil companies from China and India.

Bids are due in six months and the Iraqi government is expected to choose the winners by June 2009. With a combined total of 40 billion barrels, at no point in history has so great a quantity of known oil been offered in a single bid round to international oil companies, in any country.

In three months, a further 40% of Iraq’s oil will be put up for private control.

On 1 December, Hands Off Iraqi Oil will be demonstrating outside Iraq Petroleum 2008, a key networking opportunity for oil industry officials. The venue is yet to be announced.

For more information, please contact 0845 458 2564 or visit: www.HandsOffIraqiOil.org

Topics: Iraq