BAGHDAD // Iraq plans to bring forward a second bidding round for major energy contracts, a spokesman said on Thursday, and it may also give foreign firms another chance to bid for oilfields that were not awarded during an energy auction this week. The country's second major bidding round for energy deals "was supposed to be at the end of the year but we have moved it up. We will announce the new date. It could be in the next few months," said Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad.
Jihad also said that the Iraqi government planned to develop two major gasfields, Akkas and Mansuriyah, on its own after neither field was awarded to a foreign bidder in Tuesday's auction. Earlier this week Iraq's attempt to auction contracts to develop six of the country's biggest oilfields turned into a rout, as international companies snubbed government requests for lower bids. Only one of the fields, the largest, was awarded a contract. It went to a consortium headed by BP, after the British oil group and its partner, the state-owned Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), agreed at the last minute to drop their price for developing southern Iraq's Rumaila field to $2 from $3.99 per barrel.