BEIJING (AFP) — China hailed Thursday a three-billion-dollar oil agreement with Iraq as a win for both nations, as it sought to reassure the rest of the world that it should not be concerned by the deal.
Becoming the first foreign firm to enter such an agreement since the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) this week won the right to develop the Al-Ahdab oil field south of Baghdad.
"The cooperation between the relevant oil companies from China and Iraq is mutually beneficial," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters after the Iraqi embassy in Beijing said the deal had been reached.
"It will be conducive to the economic development of Iraq, and will meet China's demands in the oil field as well, and is also conducted according to market rules and will not harm any interests of any third parties."
The agreement, reached during a visit to China by Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, revives a 1997 contract that granted China exploration rights to the Al-Ahdab oil field in the province of Wassit.
After China won the rights to the al-Ahdab field in a deal then valued at 700 million dollars over 23 years, activities were suspended due to UN sanctions and security issues following the US-led war in 2003 that toppled Saddam.
Planned oil production was then 90,000 barrels per day (bpd), and CNPC had been expected to win the new exploration rights.http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...bAMKfdfXJkmqZQ