Iraq Hopes to Sign Rumaila Deal in September

BAGHDAD (Dow Jones Newswires), Aug. 19, 2009

Iraq aims to sign a contract for the giant Rumaila oil field with BP and China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, in September a top Iraqi oil official told Dow Jones Wednesday.

Following two-day meetings in Baghdad last week involving the interested parties and at which technicalities were discussed, "We are expecting that we will sign the contract in September," Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, deputy director-general at Iraq's Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate, or PCLD, said.

The PCLD has suggested August for the final signing of the deal which is the only one awarded in the first postwar licensing round held on June 30 in Baghdad, out of two gas fields and six oil fields.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward has said that target is probably not realistic and Rumaila is more likely to be signed by the end of the year.

However, Ameedi said last week's meetings, chaired by Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, had cleared the way for an imminent signing.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.