Iraq Plans Oil, Gas Contract Bids on April 27

(Reuters) — Iraq will hold a bidding round for oil and gas exploration contracts on April 27, the oil ministry said on Thursday.

Iraq will auction 30 new oil and gas projects in two licensing rounds distributed across the country as it seeks to produce much needed natural gas for power stations and cut imports burdening the country's budget.

The "fifth plus" round includes 16 projects, some of which were not awarded in the fifth licensing round, while the sixth round will offer mainly exploration gas blocks, the ministry said in a statement.

The country flares much of its own gas, extracted alongside crude oil at its fields, because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel. Instead, it uses Iranian power imports to generate electricity.

Iraq has been under pressure from Washington to reduce dependence on Iran for energy.

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