Iraq has delayed its planned fourth oil and gas field licensing round for a fourth time.

The auction of 12 exploration and development licences will now be held six weeks later on 30-31 May instead of 11-12 April.

The model contract and final tender protocol will be released on 3 February. The delay is to give international oil companies (IOCs) extra time to consider the Oil Ministry’s model contracts, says Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of the oil ministry’s petroleum contracts and licensing directorate (PCLD), according to local press reports.

The Oil Ministry had originally planned to hold the auction on 25-26 January after pushing the auction back from August.