(EnergyAsia, January 30 2013, Wednesday) — GE Oil & Gas has announced the establishment of a new technology and service centre near Basra City to support development and production of Iraq’s oil-rich North Rumaila region.

The facility, which was opened earlier this month, brings the latest GE technology and expertise to local customers to help boost production in the Rumaila oil field.

Rumaila is one of the largest oil fields in the world, and its continued development is a key to Iraq’s long-term economic growth. More than 250 production wells currently are operating in the field, located near the Kuwaiti border in southern Iraq. The oil produced from the field represents about 40 percent of Iraq’s total oil production.

In addition to being a base for the supply of pressure control equipment to Iraq’s drilling and production sector, the new GE centre provides a wide range of services including installation and maintenance, testing, inspections, repair and storage. Future services will include complete non-destructive testing capabilities, machine, welding and heat treatment, blasting and painting and API certification and recertification.

Rami Qasem, GE Oil & Gas president and CEO for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said:

“The new Basra center provides a broad spectrum of solutions under one roof and is situated locally to meet our customers’ demands for rapid drilling and production support. Through our investment in strengthening our local presence, we are able to significantly improve our delivery time for products and services, while also giving us a base for training and developing a local work force.

“The centre not only builds on our long-term commitment to the country but also complements the government’s focus on promoting job creation and nurturing the technical skills of the Iraqi professionals. The centre supports our global strategy to be closer and more responsive to our customers, wherever in the world that we do business.”

To date, GE has opened three offices in Baghdad, Erbil and the southern oil and gas hub of Basra, building on its 40-year history of operations in the country.