Iraq invites oil firms to workshop in Turkey

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BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Iraqi Oil Ministry will hold a workshop next month in Turkey for international oil companies that have qualified for Iraq's first contract bidding round since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The ministry's spokesman, Assem Jihad, says Iraqi officials will hear suggestions and comments from oil companies for the bidding procedures and contract models to be studied.

Jihad said Sunday no date has been set for the meeting, which will take place in Istanbul. But he said it will probably occur in mid-February.

Last June, Iraq opened six major oil fields and two gas fields to be developed by oil companies. It plans to sign the contracts in mid-2009.

Iraq holds the world's third largest proven reserves of crude, with more than 115 billion barrels of oil.