China and Iraq signed Monday an oil deal that would allow China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to help develop al-Ahdab oil field in eastern Iraq's Wasit province.
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani signed the 2.9 billion U.S. dollars deal with CNPC President Jiang Jiemin in a ceremony held in his ministry.
"This is an important participation from the Chinese side to develop the Iraqi oil fields, and we are looking forward for more participation in rebuilding Iraq," Shahristani said at the signing ceremony.
He added that the deal "would produce a total of more than 110,000 barrels per day (bpd), which would mainly be allocated to the Zubaidiyah power plant in the province and the surplus would go for export."
Zhi Yulin, board chairman of the Alwaha Co. which is affiliated with CNPC, told Xinhua that he hoped the project would boost Iraqi oil output, help facilitate post-war reconstruction, create job opportunities and contribute to the social stability.
While underlining security was the biggest challenge the company would face, Zhi promised to do their best to guarantee the staff's safety.
The state-owned CNPC had signed an agreement with Iraq's Saddam Hussein government in 1996, which was postponed by the UN sanctions on Iraq and the following U.S.-led invasion to the oil-rich state.
(Xinhua News Agency November 11, 2008)