Iraq has asked companies to begin submitting bids in June for a new round of exploration licenses and plans to disclose the results in January, reports Bloomberg. The country also hopes to sign an initial agreement next month for development of the Akkas natural-gas field, Abdul- Mahdi al-Ameedi, the head of the Oil Ministry’s licensing department, said today at a news conference in Baghdad. Iraq holds the world’s fifth-largest crude reserves and depends on oil exports for most of its revenue. The nation needs additional foreign investment and expertise to increase output and rebuild an economy shattered by decades of conflict, economic sanctions and sabotage. In the latest effort, the government plans to organize a promotional conference in August to attract bids for rights to explore 12 concessions -- seven for oil and five for gas, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi told the conference. The areas cover 34,000 square miles across the south, north and west of the country. Luaibi said on March 22 that the blocks contain a combined 29 billion cubic meters of gas and 10 billion barrels of crude.