Oil and Gas

Iraq approves $278 mln oil deal with Halliburton

BAGHDAD, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Iraq’s cabinet approved on Monday a $278.5 million drilling deal with U.S. oil service company Halliburton for the southern West Qurna- 1 oilfield, according to a government statement.

Under the 30-month contract, Halliburton is to drill 30 oil wells in the 8.7-billion-barrel West Qurna Phase One field, operated by U.S. major ExxonMobil, the statement said.

Oil production at the West Qurna-1 field is running at a rate of 360,000 barrels per day due to problems with low levels of water injection, which is needed to boost production, officials said.

Iraq has awarded lucrative oilfield development contracts to majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil with the ambitious target of expanding its oil production capacity to 8.5-9 million bpd by 2017.

Increasing export capacity is a cornerstone of Iraq’s ambitious plans to revive its oil industry after years of war, economic sanctions and neglect. Iraq wants to jump into the top ranks of global oil producers and exporters. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, editing by William Hardy)