BAGHDAD, April 27 (UPI) -- Iraq increased its signature bonuses for international oil companies to take part in six oil and two gas blocks to a total of $2.6 billion.
Reviews of the Final Tender Protocol by the Platts news service suggest the substantial size of the bonus is more characteristic of a loan to the Iraqi Oil Ministry than a conventional signature bonus.
A signature bonus is an up-front payment by producers to the host country as a means to secure exploration rights. It does not guarantee future revenue, however.
The FTP document shows the signature bonuses range from $200 million for gas fields to $500 million for oil fields, bringing the total to $2.6 billion over a five-year payment schedule that includes interest.
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani confirmed the increase to Platts at an oil production conference in Tokyo, though he offered few specifics.
The signature bonus "varies from field to field, but yes, we have increased," he said.
The gas blocks are in the Akkas gas field in Anbar province and the Mansouriya field near Baghdad. The oil fields include both Rumaila fields, West Qurna-1, the Kirkuk and Bai Hassan fields in the north and the Meissan fields in the south of the country.