LACKLUSTER ENERGY: Iraq's government signed deals for only three of 12 oil and natural gas exploration sites offered in an energy auction, reflecting reluctance of foreign bidders to risk investments in unexplored areas. The previous three auctions offered known oil and gas fields for exploration.
TOUGH TERMS: The meager response may also be due to tough contract terms set by the Iraqi government. Companies are paid a flat fee in so-called service contracts, rather than receiving a share of the oil and gas they find.
WINNERS?: Russia's Lukoil and Inpex Corp. of Japan made a successful bid for oil exploration in southern Iraq. Pakistan Petroleum won a contract for natural gas exploration in the east of the country. A Kuwait-led consortium won rights to search for oil and gas in the south.