Iraq has no further plans to use international oil companies to develop its hydrocarbons sector, after auctioning 10 fields in two oil and gas licensing rounds over the past year, according to statements by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki told a pre-election rally in Basra, that Iraq should start thinking about developing its national oil companies and the country must be wary of “staying captive in the hands of foreign oil firms”, according to a Reuters report.

“I told the oil minister [Hussain al-Shahristani] during a cabinet meeting that we will never sign any more contracts with foreign oil companies,” said Maliki. “We will depend on our national companies in developing our oil fields”.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on 7 March.

Baghdad plans to boost production capacity to 12 million barrels a day (b/d) over the next seven years from about 2.5 million b/d currently. On 10 February, Iraq established a fourth national oil company, the Midland Oil Company, to manage fields in the centre of the country.

The Midland Oil Company will join the North, South and Mays an companies as the latest government-owned body tasked with boosting Iraq’s oil production.