Iraq Bid Round Flatters To Deceive

Iraq’s fifth licensing round award failed to secure contracts with any big players. That prospective assets failed to garner interest highlights the chaotic nature of the process.

Iraq managed to offload six of the eleven blocks offered up in its hastily patched together 26 April licensing round. The other five blocks received no bids. On the surface this was a bigger success than Iraq’s previous round in 2012, which secured a miserly three awards out of the twelve on offer (MEES, 4 June 2012).

But the 2012 licensing round resulted in Russia’s Lukoil and Japan’s Inpex securing Block 10. Both firms are on an order of magnitude bigger than the firms which snapped up acreage in this, Iraq’s fifth licensing round.

UAE’s Crescent Petroleum won the rights to three of the six licenses offered up, while two Chinese minnows Geo-Jade Petroleum (2 blocks) and United Energy Group (UEG; 1 block) bagged the others. This marks the first entry of the two Chinese firms into the Middle East – a growing trend, with larger state firms stepping up their regional presence. Meanwhile, Crescent’s success shows that firms operating in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region are no longer blackballed. (CONTINUED - 763 WORDS)