US oil companies have been almost completely shut out of Iraq's second oil field auction as European and Asian companies won rights to develop the major fields.
Major US oil companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips, which were expected to take part in the bid, were absent from the proceedings. Prime ministerial adviser and former oil minister Thamir Ghadhban said that intense competition was the main factor for US oil groups losing out.
In the ten-lot auction, Royal Dutch Shell secured the right to develop Majnoon, one of Iraq's largest fields, containing 25bn barrels of reserves. Russia's Lukoil and Norway-based Statoil secured the right to develop the West Qurna 2 oil field.
Russia's Gazprom and Angola's Sonangol both made a commitment to develop oil fields in one of Iraq's most dangerous regions. Chinese oil company CNPC, with France's Total and Malaysia's Petronas, secured the right to develop the Halfaya oil field.
In November, ExxonMobil was the only major US company to lead a winning bid in Iraq, securing the rights to develop the West Qurna 1 field, while the only junior US company to win a deal was California's Occidental.