Gas deals advance, political hurdles remain

Ministry officials initialed contracts for Mansuriya and Siba fields, but Anbar province protests have worked, stalling Akkas. All three deals hinge on the formation of a new government, which looks more likely after the weekend.
Iraqi Parliament member Rafi al-Issawi (C) of the Iraqiya bloc speaks with MP Hasan al Sunaid (4L) of the Shiite coalition and other Parliament members after a dispute erupted at a Nov. 11, 2010, session, prior to an Iraqiya walk-out. (MUHANNAD FALA'AH/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - Iraq has taken a step towards developing gas fields awarded to foreign companies in an Oct. 20 bidding round, though the deals still face various political obstacles on both the local and national level.

Oil Ministry officials have agreed to the draft contracts for Mansuriya and Siba gas fields, but will wait until after the Eid al-Adha holiday to approve the third contract, for the Akkas field in Anbar province, on the request of the investing companies who worry about provincial upheaval.

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