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Iraq enticing natural gas bidders

BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Iraq is interested in bringing natural gas producers into the country by allowing them to export about half of the gas produced, an official said.

Iraq is trying to convince international energy companies to take part in an upcoming auction to develop three natural gas fields in the country.

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Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said incentives for international oil companies would include allowances for exports of gas produced, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Energy companies, he said, could export 50 percent of the gas produced, with the Iraqi government purchasing or taking the other half.

The country, however, lacks the infrastructure needed to export much of its natural gas, meaning Iraq would need pipeline deals as well.

The three natural gas fields on the auction block hold combined reserves of 11.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Iraqi officials told the Journal that international energy companies have until Aug. 20 to register for a gas bidding round expected Sept. 1.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports that Iraq has more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves but is producing less than 10 percent of that.

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