After issuing a slew of threats to retaliate against Exxon for signing an initial agreement to work in Kurdistan, the Oil Ministry finally followed through. In February 2012, it announced that Exxon would be excluded from the fourth bidding round for twelve oil and gas fields, which is scheduled for May. This is the first time that Baghdad has decided to confront a major oil corporation. It has done the same with other companies, but they did not have the standing of Exxon. This could backfire against the central government, as it is losing its leverage in this dispute.