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Monday, 05/19/2008 8:41:32 AM

Monday, May 19, 2008 8:41:32 AM

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Oil ministry says picked corporations to up production to 3m. bpd

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Baghdad, 18 May 2008 (Voices of Iraq)
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The Iraqi Oil Ministry picked a number of corporations to sign contracts with in order to up oil production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 3 million bpd, the ministry's official spokesman said on Saturday.

"The ministry has hatched a new plan as talks are now underway with six global corporations on Iraqi oil contracts. More than 120 companies have presented offers, but only 35 were selected," Aasem Jihad told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) by telephone.

"The ministry seeks to attain the objective of adding 500,000 bpd to the current production rates of 2.500 million bpd within the next year and a half," Jihad said.

He had told VOI on Thursday that the volume of Iraq's oil exports has reached 57 million bpd in April 2008 compared to 59.400 bpd in March 2008, a registered decrease of 2.5 million bpd.

"The decrease is actually blamed on the security conditions in Basra during last month and the vandalizing of several pipelines," he explained.

The export rates of last month were put at 1.460 million bpd from the southern fields via the ports of Basra and Khour al-Amiyah while the oil exported from the northern fields via the Turkish port of Ceyhan was 442,000 bpd, he added.

"The planned production during the month of June 2008 would hopefully reach 2.5 million bpd – 1.800 million bpd from the southern oil fields and 600,000 bpd from the northern fields in Kirkuk, 250 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad," Jihad said.

The oil-rich port city of Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad, had witnessed last March a military campaign under the name Saulat al-Forsan (Knights' Assault), which aimed to impose the state power on the city and hunt down "outlaws".

The operation left hundreds dead or wounded on the sides of both the government forces and gunmen believed to be loyal to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr.