Iraq's Rumaila oil output to rise 10pc in Nov
Baghdad, November 15, 2010
British oil major BP and partners were expected to meet an initial target of a 10 percent rise in output from the Rumaila oilfield, the backbone of Iraq's crude production, by end-November, an Iraqi oil official said.
Deputy oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Sunday the ministry was also examining how a consortium led by Italy's ENI managed to boost output from the Zubair oilfield by more than 10 percent.
'Yes, we expect to achieve the 10 percent increase by the end of this month,' he told Reuters when asked if BP and its partners will reach their initial production target in November.
'For Zubair, there is an increase but it is under study ... The increase was more than 10 percent from Zubair,' he said, adding the ministry would announce the rise officially after it had been studied and tested.
Supergiant Rumaila, with 17 billion barrels in estimated crude reserves, is the workhorse of Iraq's oil industry, producing almost half its total output of 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
BP and Chinese partner CNPC signed a 20-year development contract for Rumaila and expect to increase output to 2.85 million bpd in six years. The group agreed on a baseline production level of 1.066 million bpd, according to Iraqi officials.
ENI, along with US-based Occidental Petroleum Corp and Kogas, sealed a 20-year contract with Iraq to develop the Zubair oilfield. They set an output target of 1.2 million bpd and agreed on a baseline production level of 183,000 bpd.
The deals were part of a series of contracts Iraq signed with oil companies to develop its vast oil reserves. If all the projects turn out as planned, Iraq could boost its capacity to Saudi levels of 12 million bpd.
Iraq will start paying development costs next year to oil companies that won contracts to develop the reserves after they reach initial output targets, Luaibi said. 'For the 2011 budget, we have allocated a certain amount of money to pay costs to the companies who deserve payment.'
To meet the anticipated rise in oil production, Iraq plans to overhaul its crumbling infrastructure and export pipelines as it aims to become one of the world's top oil powers.
The oil ministry has asked international firms that won contracts to develop oilfields whether they were interested in financing the country's crude export infrastructure projects.
BP, CNPC, U.S. company ExxonMobil and Russia group Lukoil were among companies interested in funding part of the export projects, Luaibi said.
'We are in the stage of preparing the tender documents and we are about to sign with a consultancy to verify these documents for us and we will announce it soon,' he said. - Reuters
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