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Iraq delays latest oil bidding round until April | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s oil ministry says it will delay its next energy bidding round until April because companies want more time to study the contracts.

Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad confirmed the latest delay Wednesday. The auction had previously been expected in January, but was later pushed forward to March.

The auction is Iraq’s fourth since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. It covers 12 gas and oil exploration areas. It is part of the OPEC member’s efforts to boost its energy output and attract foreign investment.

Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas deals to international energy companies since 2008. The foreign companies are seen as key to helping Iraq revamp its vital oil sector after years of war and sanctions.