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Iraq is opening more of its untapped oil and gas resources to foreign developers, hoping to boost revenues after its costly war with Daesh (ISIS), but analysts say the rushed bidding process – now timed to precede national elections – could draw a lukewarm response. Last month, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi unexpectedly moved the date to receive bids from late June to April, meaning the bidding would be held before May 12 national elections. Thursday's auction will be the fifth since Iraq opened its vast oil and gas reserves to international energy companies in 2009 for the first time in decades.Encouraged by an improved security situation, Iraq in 2009 began to attract international oil companies to develop its vast untapped oil and gas reserves.Since then, Iraq has awarded a handful of oil deals to develop major fields that hold more than half of its 153.1 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.Iraq's 2018 budget of nearly $88 billion comes with a deficit of more than $10 billion.
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