Iraq OKs six new oil companies to bid in January

by BEN LANDO AND STAFF

A representative of Kuwait Energy casts its winning bid for the Siba gas field as oil ministry leaders look on. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)
A representative of Kuwait Energy casts its winning bid for the Siba gas field as oil ministry leaders look on. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

In a sign of growing interest in Iraq's upcoming bidding round – its fourth auction for oil and gas development deals since mid-2009 – another six foreign oil companies have been pre-qualified to participate, days after an American firm was disqualified for signing deals with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Officials from the new firms, which hail from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, will join executives from the 40 companies already pre-qualified for a series of meetings with Iraqi Oil Ministry officials at a "roadshow" in Amman on Sept. 11 and 12.

Four of the new companies have a history in Iraq. The Dutch/Swiss company Vitol Holdings and Switzerland's Glencore International were once tarnished by involvement in oil sales kickbacks amidst sanctions on Saddam Hussein's government, but they appear to have rehabilitated their reputations within Iraq.

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U.S. firm Hess Corp. was disqualified from the upcoming bidding round after Baghdad oil officials were notified that the company signed two production sharing contracts in July with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The KRG has signed more than 40 such deals, which the central government deems illegal and a violation of its claims of exclusive authority to sign such deals.

The pre-qualified companies, according to the Iraqi Oil Ministry's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate:

1. ATPECO (Japan)
2. Bashneft (Russia)
3. BP (UK)
4. Chevron (US)
5. CNOOC (China)
6. CNPC (China)
7. Dragon Oil (UAE)
8. Edison (Italy)
9. Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (Egypt)
10. Eni Iraq (Italy)
11. ExxonMobil (US)
12. Gazprom (Russia)
13. Glencore International (Switzerland)
14. Gulfsands Petroleum (UK)
15. INA-Industrja Nafte d.d. (Croatia)
16. Inpex (Japan)
17. ITOCHU (Japan)
18. Japex (Japan)
19. JOGMEC (Japan)
20. JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corp. (Japan)
21. Kogas (Korea)
22. Kuwait Energy (Kuwait)
23. Lukoil (Russia)
24. Mitsubishi (Japan)
25. Mitsui Oil (Japan)
26. Mubadala Oil (UAE)
27. Occidental (US)
28. ONGC Videsh Ltd. (India)
29. Pakistan Petroleum (Pakistan)
30. Petro Vietnam E&P (Vietnam)
31. PetroChina (China)
32. Petronas (Malaysia)
33. Premier Oil (UK)
34. Pertamina (Indonesia)
35. PTTEP Int. Holding Co. Ltd. (Thailand)
36. Rosneft (Russia)
37. Romgaz (Romania)
38. Shell (Netherlands)
39. Sonangol (Angola)
40. Statoil (Norway)
41. Sumitomo Corp. (Japan)
42. TNK-BP Holding (Russia)
43. Total (France)
44. TPAO (Turkey)
45. Vitol Holdings (Netherlands/Switzerland)
46. ZhenHua Oil (China)

Iraqi staff contributing from Baghdad are anonymous for their security.