Iraq is preparing to offer later this year some of its plum gas acreage to foreign investors. Having staged two successful auctions in 2009-10 for its oil fields despite offering oil companies technical service contracts (TSCs) at less than attractive terms and two subsequent but lacklustre auctions (see p22), Iraq may find that its early allure is fading.

For Eni, at least, reality has kicked in as CEO Paolo Scaroni again slammed conditions in Iraq’s southern oil hub. “We are asking ourselves... Is it worth it to stay in Iraq with all these problems, small profitability, huge bureaucracy?” the outspoken boss of Eni said in London on 13 February. Baghdad should either remove obstacles or Eni will remove itself from the country, Reuters quoted Mr Scaroni as saying. (CONTINUED - 523 WORDS)