Foreign oil companies will increase their investments to increase output in Basra, the main producing region of Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Foreign oil companies will increase their investments to increase output in Basra, the main producing region of Iraq, state-owned South Oil Company Deputy Director General Salah Mahdi told Reuters on Monday.
The companies' investment budget increased to $7.29 billion in 2017, from $6.6 billion in 2016, he said on the sidelines of a CWC conference in Beirut.
The companies that operate in southern Iraq are BP, Shell, Lukoil, Exxon, Eni, CNPC and Petronas.
"Our plans are to encourage foreign companies to raise production for next year," he said. "We are planning to boost output for next year and maximize revenues".
Iraq's oil ministry has just launched a new round of bidding to develop 12 small to medium-sized oil fields straddling three provinces - four in Basra, five in Misan and three in the Central province, according to a tender document on the ministry's website.
Iraqi officials said in August the nation's oil output should increase next year by 250,000-350,000 barrels per day as companies improve yields from existing fields in the southern region that produces most of the nation's crude.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said on Sunday the country should be exempt from OPEC crude output restrictions as it needs the income to fight the war against Islamic State.
OPEC's second-largest producer, Iraq's output could rise slightly this month, from September's 4.774 million barrels per day, according to state-oil marketer SOMO. Last month's total includes 546,000 bpd from the Kurdish self-rule region (KRG) of northern Iraq.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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