Oil report

UPDATE 1-Iraq expects to approve Maysan oilfield deal soon

(Adds details, background)

BAGHDAD, March 2 (Reuters) - Iraq's cabinet is expected to approve in the coming days a contract with China's CNOOC 0883.HK to develop the 2.5-billion-barrel Maysan oilfield complex, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on Tuesday.

CNOOC, together with Sinochem 600500.SS, made an unsuccessful bid for the three Maysan fields in Iraq's first auction of oilfield contracts last year. Since then CNOOC had decided to accept the government's proposed remuneration fee of $2.30 for every additional barrel of oil produced.

“With any contract, we present the issue to the cabinet and when the approval comes, we inform the company ... to (be able to then) sign the contract. I expect this to be in the coming days,” Shahristani told Reuters.

The deal would be another in a series of contracts that Iraq has signed in a bid to boost its output capacity to 12 million barrels per day, rivalling top producer Saudi Arabia, from around 2.5 million bpd now.

The Iraqi government is hoping that the deals will generate petrodollars to rebuild its shattered economy. (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Michael Christie)