Iraq has auctioned off three major natural gas fields to international companies.
Baghdad wants to become a top energy producer by tapping its vast oil and gas reserves, but foreign bidders face tough terms and shaky security there.
Western firms either did not compete or failed to place winning bids.
The companies that did win were from South Korea, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Turkey.
They will have to build infrastructure and a pipeline network from scratch and operate in violent areas.
The fields have estimated combined reserves of 11.23 trillion cubic feet of gas, about 10 percent of Iraq’s total 112 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves.
Thirteen companies registered for the auction including Italy’s ENI, Edison, Norway’s Statoil and Russia’s TNK-BP, but not all registered firms bid.
Baghdad had said the priority for the gas on offer was for domestic consumption, but some firms bidding in the auction were hoping to export to neighbouring countries.