115 firms register for Iraq oil contracts: Minister


 Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on Friday that 115 companies had registered to compete for oil extraction and service contracts to help develop the country's oil reserves, the world's third largest.

Shahristani said in an interview that the fields up for grabs under the contracts included Iraq's giant fields in the south along with Kirkuk in the north.

He declined to name the fields, but said the qualified firms would be announced in March.

"From announcing the qualified companies to the signing of the contracts will take a minimum one and a half or two years, but we will try to make it within a year," Shahristani said.

An oil ministry official had previously put the number at companies that registered by a February 18 deadline at more than 70. (Reuters)

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