(Reuters) - Iraq on Monday opened its giant oilfields to foreign firms, clearing the way for major investment by multinationals ushered out nearly 40 years ago under nationalization.
Following are key details announced by Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani at a news conference in Baghdad:
** The fields open for long-tern development contracts are Rumaila, Kirkuk, Zubair, West Qurna Phase 1, Bai Hassan and the Maysan fields. Maysan comprises three fields, Bazargan, Abu Gharab and Fakka.
** The aim is for foreign investors to help develop and boost output at those fields.
** Two gas fields, Akkas and Mansuriyah, are also open.
** Iraqi has prequalified 41 foreign firms for the contracts.
** The deals would hopefully be signed in June 2009.
** The contracts aim to raise output by a combined 1.5 million barrels per day. Iraq aimed to raise output to 4.5 million bpd by 2013 from the current 2.5 million bpd.
** Foreign firms that win contracts must take on a local partner who must have a minimum 25 percent stake in such deals.
** The deals are service contracts, not production sharing contracts.
** Any firm that wants to bid must open an office in Baghdad. If the company wins a contract, it has to open an official, registered branch in Baghdad.
** Iraq said last week it also hoped to sign six short-term oil service contracts during the next month. But Shahristani said talks on these deals were still going on. Other ministry officials had recently said negotiations had been completed.
** The short-term deals, each worth about $500 million, are aimed at quickly lifting output at Iraq’s largest producing fields by a combined 500,000 barrels a day.
** Five of the short-term deals that have been under discussion are with Royal Dutch Shell, Shell in partnership with BHP Billiton, BP, Exxon Mobil and Chevron in partnership with Total.
** Iraq has also been in talks with a consortium of Anadarko, Vitol and Dome for a sixth short-term contract.
** In terms of the short-terms contracts, Shell negotiated for the northern Kirkuk oilfield and was also in talks on the Maysan fields, Iraqi officials have said. BP has its eyes on the southern Rumaila field, while Exxon wants the contract for the Zubair oilfield in southern Basra province.
** Chevron and Total were looking to work together to develop West Qurna, also in Basra.
Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Dean Yates
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