October 11, 2013 - 14:00 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Iraq's Prime Minister said his country has signed a $6 billion contract with Swiss company Satarem to build and run an oil refinery in southern Iraq, the Associated Press reports.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office announced the deal on his official website in a statement dated Thursday, Oct 10.
The project calls for Satarem to construct and operate a 150,000 barrel-per-day refinery in the southern province of Maysan, which borders Iran.
Iraq has awarded oil drilling deals worth a combined $348 million to two Chinese firms and Swiss-based oilfield services company Weatherfor in early September.
Weatherford won two drilling contracts, one for nearly $95 million and another for $82.4 million. Another contract worth $96.7 million went to China's Bohai, while state-owned CNOOC division COSL snagged another for $73.8 million.
Iraq also extended for another year a deal to supply neighboring Jordan with oil under existing terms, but did not give more details. Iraq last year boosted exports to the kingdom, which must import most of its fuel needs.
Iraq sits atop the world's fourth largest proven reserves of conventional crude, with about 143.1 billion barrels, and oil revenues make up 95 percent of the country's budget. It lacks refining capacity to meet local demand for fuel.
Iraq's oil exports rose to an average of 2.579 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, due to increased shipments from southern oil fields which have helped it move closer to a year-end target. Exports were higher than in July when Iraq exported 2.324 million bpd on average. OPEC's second-largest producer wants to export 2.9 million bpd per day by the end of the year.