Iraq’s Ministry of Oil says its fifth licensing round for oil and gas concessions will be “completely different” from previous rounds, following a disappointing turnout at the latest auction in May.

The fifth round, expected to be announced “soon”, will only include gas prospects, the Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate (PCLD) announced on the ministry’s website. Previous rounds have been focused on oil.

“[The ministry plans to] make changes in the rules and contractual and economic conditions for the service contracts of the previous licensing rounds, which will make the contract in this round completely different from the previous contracts between the ministry and the international companies,” said the statement.

Only three of the 12 oil and gas blocks auctioned in Iraq at the end of May this year with only one international oil company (IOC), Lukoil, winning a bid for a major oil block.

The lack of interest was a blow to Iraq’s energy sector as the Opec member looks to increase oil and gas output to boost its economic recovery after years of war and sanctions.

Iraq’s oil exports averaged 2.565 million barrels a day (b/d) in August to the highest level for three decades, up from 2.516 million b/d in July, according to a report by Reuters citing the State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO).