The Iraqi government requires the companies it allows to bid on oil and gas tenders to pass a series of pre-bidding tests, and two South Korean companies failed.
South Korea's state-owned Korea National Oil Corp. and SK Energy both failed to comply with requirements of the Iraq Oil Ministry to be allowed to bid.
The two companies reportedly signed oil contracts with the Kurdish regional government, violating Iraq's oil laws and making them ineligible for contracts with the ministry, AsiaNews.it reports.
In June 2008 KNOC and SK Energy were granted access to eight oil fields with an estimated 7.2 billion barrels of reserves in exchange for $2.2 billion in investments to develop the region's infrastructure.
Oil fields in the region the companies were granted access to are a sore spot in the relationship between Iraq's central government the Kurdish regional government.
"The signing of this contract is against Iraqi law and its constitution," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said. "For that reason these two companies have been prevented from taking part in tenders. If these companies cancel this contract they will be able to take part in the next contract tender."
Daewoo International Corp. extends Myanmar gas exploration
Seoul-based Daewoo International Corp. announced it will extend exploration of a natural gas block off the coast of Myanmar until August.
The extension is due to the Myanmar's border dispute with Bangladesh, Yonhap news agency reports.
Daewoo signed a deal with the Myanmar government and has been extracting gas from a block off the west coast of Myanmar since March 2007.
The exploration project was supposed to end in February, but the block is in the Bay of Bengal between Myanmar and Bangladesh, and the two countries have been debating the exact location of the maritime border.
"The extension results from the unsettled dispute over the maritime border between Bangladesh and Myanmar," Daewoo International said in a statement.
The gas block is run by a consortium consisting of Daewoo International, the state-run Korea Gas Corp. and two state-run Indian companies: Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and GAIL India Ltd.
Reliance Industries pumps gas from Krishna Godavari
India's Reliance Industries Ltd. has started natural gas production from its D-6 block in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
The new production is expected to reduce India's trade deficit, cut the subsidy burden on fertilizers and attract new investments from multinational oil and gas companies to increase oil and gas exploration in Indian seas, the Economic Times reports.
(RIL "started producing 2.5 million cubic meters per day of natural gas from the D-6 block on Wednesday evening," Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey said. "Production will gradually increase to reach its peak of 80 million cubic meters per day within a year, which would double the country's gas production."
Natural gas from the newly producing field is expected to be able to meet about one-sixth of India's oil and gas consumption of 175 million tons of crude oil equivalent.
India will be able to cut its natural gas imports by $9 billion per year.
Closing oil prices, April 3, 3 p.m., London
Brent Crude oil: $52.22
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $51.66