Iraq delayed approving deals to develop two oil fields on 17 November, after the Iraqi Oil Ministry signed preliminary contracts with oil majors in the first week of November.

According to a source at the ministry, the deals for the Zubair and West Qurna fields will be presented to the cabinet on 24 November. He declined to give a reason for the delay.

Iraq signed a 20-year deal on 2 November with a consortium led by Italy’s Eni to develop the southern Zubair field near Basra. It awarded the licence to Eni and its consortium partners, the US’ Occidental Petroleum and Korea Gas Corporation.

On 5 November, the ministry awarded a 20-year contract to the US’ ExxonMobil Corporation and the UK/Dutch Shell Group to develop the West Qurna oil field in Basra province.

Iraq’s cabinet approved a $15bn technical service contract on 3 November with the UK’s BP and its partner on the project, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), to develop the Rumaila oil field.