The Iraqi oil ministry launched a new tender to develop 12 small to medium-sized oil fields, reported Reuters.

The fields on offer are four fields located in Basra, five fields located in Misan and three fields located in the central province. Nineteen firms from around the world were pre-qualified to participate in the bidding process. Those companies include six from Japan, the UAE’s Dragon Oil, Mubadala Oil, and Crescent Petroleum, Glencore Exploration Ltd, as well as firms from China, Russia, Italy, Kuwait, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Romania, informed

Iraq will negotiate terms directly with international oil companies (IOC) or consortia, as it seeks to move away from the service-based contracts used for the development of giant fields. The ministry will use those talks as the basis for awarding development and production contracts for the fields.

The service contracts used for Baghdad’s post-2003 bidding rounds worked well for Baghdad when oil prices were high. However, the slump in global prices over the past two years left the country paying the same fees to firms like BP, Exxon, Lukoil and Shell at a time when revenue from oil sales was significantly lower. The oil ministry has repeatedly said it wishes to renegotiate the terms of its service contracts with IOCs to link fees they receive for developing its fields to oil prices and have them share the burden when markets go down.