It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
Next week, Iraqi officials plan a welcome-back party for Big Oil.
The government intends to auction off oil contracts to foreign companies for the first time since Iraq nationalized its oil industry more than three decades ago. If all goes according to plan in the first round, foreign oil companies will move in to help Iraq revive production at six developed fields that have suffered from years of war and neglect.
The man behind the plan, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, appeared before parliament on Tuesday, where some lawmakers questioned the legality of the proposed contracts and what they called favorable terms for the foreign companies. But the auction appears to have sufficient political support to go ahead on schedule, and Mr. Shahristani and other government officials vowed to plow ahead.
Some 120 companies expressed interest in bidding for the contracts at the June 29 and 30 auction, according to the oil ministry. Thirty-five companies qualified to bid, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Italy's Eni SpA, Russia's Lukoil and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec. The six oil fields at stake are believed to hold reserves of more than 43 billion barrels. Foreigners won't get the most prized piece of the action -- ownership stakes in the reserves -- but will be paid fees for ramping up output.
"We're talking about a huge volume of crude flowing through their system for the companies who win the bids," says Samuel Ciszuk, IHS Global Insight's Middle East Energy analyst.