Oil Ministry pursues negotiations with IOCs on new oil projects – a warning shot at OPEC members seeking to impose quotas. An Iraqi worker adjusts a control valve at the Daura oil refinery on November 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. (MUHANNAD FALA’AH/Getty Images) Iraq has opened direct negotiations with international oil companies to develop 12 oil fields and increase production – a strong signal that OPEC’s second-largest producer is defying pressure to make cuts.The surprise announcement by the Oil Ministry on Sunday included a list of 19 small and medium sized oil firms pre-qualified to make offers.Iraq’s efforts to bolster production come as OPEC members are trying to put a ceiling on output in an attempt to raise global prices.