Iraq will auction 15 oil and gas assets once the new controversial oil law is passed, a top oil ministry official has said.

Fayadh Hassan Nima, the director-general at Iraq’s Oil Ministry, said ‘Iraq is preparing 15 fields and blocks for first round of auction after approval of the oil and gas law … tenders are under preparation.’

Nima said he expected the law to be finalised within ‘two to three months’, although the timing remains uncertain. The Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al Shahristani had said earlier this month all parties had agreed to pass the law by the end of May, but this looks unlikely given the level of international opposition.

Critics claims the Oil Law will give far too much control the foreign oil companies.