BAGHDAD (AP) - The Iraqi oil minister says Iraq has set a January 2012 deadline to receive bids from international oil and gas companies for a fourth bidding round on its energy assets.
The Oil Minister, Abdul-Karim Elaibi, says interested companies have until May 19 to prequalify to compete for 12 mainly gas-prone exploration blocks. No exact date for the bidding was given.
Iraqi oil officials say the companies will be paid a flat fee for their services rather than a share in the discovered resources. The officials declined to be identified because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas deals since 2008 to international energy companies in the first major investment in the country's energy industry in more than three decades.