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News // Middle East and OPEC

Iraq plans to auction 12 exploration blocks, believed to contain mostly gas reserves, in November

23 March 2011 , 13:48Neftegaz.RU1962

Iraq plans to auction 12 exploration blocks, believed to contain mostly gas reserves, in November as part of the country's efforts to capture natural gas for electricity generation, the country's oil minister said Tuesday, according to Aswat Al Iraq.

Abdul Karim al-Luaibi said 70% of these blocks are believed to contain gas reserves only, with the rest containing oil and gas reserves.

The annoucement was made as part of an annoucnement by the Iraqi Oil Ministry on its four-year plan (2011-2014) to produce oil and gas.

It will send the proposal to the Council of Ministers before submitting it to the parliament.

"We think that these 12 blocks contain at least 29 trillion cubic feet of [non-associated] gas," the minister told reporters in Baghdad.

In the last few years Iraq has held three bidding rounds to auction off 15 of the country's most prized oil and gas fields.

The Iraqi central government needs to boost its gas production and build more gas-fired power plants to increase its power output, currently at 6,500 megawatts, which is less than half the country's needs.

Iraq, which has natural gas reserves totalling 126.7 trillion cubic feet, according to official figures, produces only around 1.6 billion cubic feet a day, half of which is being flared.

However, the country has ambitions to become one of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas exporters after meeting its domestic needs.

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