Iraq Seeks Foreign Cos to Drill 30 Wells in Southern Oil Fields

AMMAN (Dow Jones Newswires), Mar. 18, 2009

Iraq has issued a tender for foreign companies to drill 30 oil wells in three of the country's large oil fields in southern Missan governorate, the Iraqi oil ministry said on its Web site Wednesday.

The tender, issued through Missan Oil Co., an affiliate of the oil ministry, calls for the drilling of 10 oil wells each in the Halfaya, Noor and Abu Ghrab oil fields, and set April 15 as the closing date for receiving offers.

The tender is part of a "crush plan" recently adopted by the Iraqi government to increase the country's production by 500,000 barrels a day within two years.

The super giant Halfaya field, one of Iraq's prized oil fields, has proven crude oil reserves of 5 billion barrels, while Noor and Abu Ghrab are smaller -- each field contains around 2 billion barrels in reserves.

Last week, Missan Oil Co. invited foreign companies to build a 50,000 barrel a day production facility at the untapped Halfaya field.

In February, the South Oil Co., also an affiliate of the oil ministry, tendered to drill 40 wells in the super giant Nahr Ben Umar and Majnoon oil fields.

Halfaya and Abu Ghrab are among the fields offered for development by the Iraqi oil ministry last year in its second bidding round.

Iraq, a founder member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is desperately seeking to boost production and renew an industry that has been shackled by years of war, sanctions, underinvestment and violence.

Iraq, with oil reserves exceeding 115 billion barrels, the world's third largest, produces about 2.4 million barrels a day.

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