(EnergyAsia, August 24 2011, Wednesday) — Iraq is working with China and South Korea to develop its oil and gas production.

Despite the challenges of operating in a war-torn economy, Iran has raised its total crude oil output to more than 2.8 million b/d and expects to earn more than US$80 billion in export revenues this year, said Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi.
With China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC)’s starting up operations at the Al-Ahdab field in June, Iraq, holder of the world’s fifth-largest crude reserves, expects to raise export to 2.5 million b/d next year.

The Chinese state firm has wasted little time developing the one-billion-barrel field after it became the first company to be awarded a licence by the Iraqi government following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

CNPC said Al-Ahdab is the first new major oilfield to become operational in Iraq for more than 20 years.

CNPC, the surprise winner when its US$3.5 billion bid was accepted in November 2008, is producing 60,000 b/d from the central Iraq field. It is planning to raise production to 160,000 b/d by end-2012.

In 2009, CNPC and UK’s BP were awarded the contract to jointly raise production at Iraq’ s biggest oil field, Rumaila, which holds an estimated reserves of 17.7 billion barrels. Later the same year, it led a consortium to win the rights to develop the Halfaya field which holds more than four billion barrels of oil.

Baghdad has also begun working with the South Korean government to help rehabilitate Iraq’s economy and energy sector following up on their April cooperation agreement. The two sides have pledged to cooperate to build up Iraq’s power plants, oil refineries, housing, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other vital infrastructure.

 In exchange, Iraq has promised to ensure long-term supply of 250,000 b/d of crude oil to South Korea at market prices.