Big Oil Deals Absent as Iraq Opens for Bids
No announcement of criticized contracts for Western companies
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2008 11:13 AM CDT
A refinery worker controls a valve on a pipeline at an oil refinery in Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, in this photo taken March 2007.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – The Iraqi government opened six oil fields to bidding today, without mention of expected no-bid contracts with big Western oil companies, the AP notes; it had been reported that several big companies were close to signing short-term deals with Iraq's government. "There is no preferential treatment for anyone, no matter who," a spokesman said.

"There was never any intention to award the contracts without a tender," he added. The New York Times had reported that Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Total SA were all close to signing deals with Iraq, as a way to boost production in the short term before the country agreed on a national oil law.