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Energy

UPDATE 2-Iraq to request bids for oil contracts soon

 (Recasts, adds oil ministry spokesman comment)
 BAGHDAD/DUBAI, April 14 (Reuters) - Iraq will invite 35
international oil companies to bid for oil and gas service
contracts soon, an oil ministry spokesman said on Monday.
 Iraq holds the world's third-largest oil reserves and needs
billions of dollars of investment to overhaul energy
infrastructure and boost oil and gas output after years of
sanctions and war.
 "The ministry will declare the first round of bidding in the
coming period," Asim Jihad told Reuters. "The oil ministry is
acting urgently to develop oil fields and increase crude
production."
 Fields from all regions of Iraq would be offered in the
first round, he said, declining to give specific details.
 Oil is Iraq's main source of income, and boosting output is
key to earning the cash the country needs for reconstruction.
Iraq produces around 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, a
fraction of its 115 billion barrels of proven crude reserves.
 Iraq published a list of 35 companies on Monday that it said
were qualified to bid in the first licensing round on its Web
site www.oil.gov.iq.
 Companies that failed to qualify for the first round could
still qualify for the second and later rounds, Jihad said.
 Some 120 companies submitted paperwork for qualification.
The oil ministry did not list those that failed to qualify.
 Oil majors BP BP.L, Chevron CVX.N, Exxon Mobil XOM.N,
Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L and Total TOTF.PA all qualified,
according to the list. The majors have been positioning
themselves for years in the hope of eventually gaining access to
Iraq's abundant reserves.
 Iraq is already negotiating separate deals with those
companies for two-year oil service contracts at some of the
biggest fields that aim to boost the country's oil output by
500,000 bpd.
 Oil majors will be involved in a role as project managers of
the fields, supervising work by Iraqi operating companies.
Insecurity in the country stops them from sending in their own
ground staff.
 None of the companies that have done deals with the
semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq were on the
list. Baghdad claims the deals were illegal and had said that it
would bar companies that had signed contracts with the Kurdish
region from oil deals in the rest of the country.
 Political disputes between the Kurdish region and Baghdad
have delayed a vital oil law from being presented to parliament
for over a year. As a stop-gap measure, Iraq plans to award
short-term oil extraction and service contracts to help boost
production.
 The following is the full list of companies Iraq's oil
ministry has declared qualified to bid:
 
 Anadarko Iraq                    Marathon International
 BG International                 Mitsibushi Corp
 BHP Billiton                     Nexen
 BP                               Nippon Oil
 Chevron Iraq                     Occidental Petroleum
 CNOOC China                      ONGC
 CNPC                             Petronas
 Conoco Phillips                  Pertamina
 Edison International             Premier
 ENI                              Repsol
 Exxon Mobil                      Shell Iraq
 Hess Corporation                 Sinochem
 Inpex Holding                    Sinopec
 Japex                            Statoil Hydro
 JSC Gazprom Neft                 Total
 Kogas                            Wintershall BASF Group
 Lukoil                           Woodside
 Maersk
 (Additional reporting and writing by Simon Webb)

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