Iraqi oil production is holding steady near the 2.6 million barrel per day mark, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its August report. That's down, however, from the 3.6 million bpd reported for 2011, the year U.S. combat forces left the country.
The United Nations said July was the deadliest month in Iraq since the country teetered on the brink of civil war in 2007. Chris Cook, former director of International Petroleum Exchange, told Voice of Russia the Iraqi government may be moving away from the West for help with its oil sector.
"The political situation is such that maybe the Iraqis are prepared to look away from the west and maybe to the north and the east," he said Friday. "Maybe Russia is a better place than even the China."
Russian oil company Lukoil signed a 20-year contract in 2010 to develop West Qurna-1 alongside Iraqi state-owned North Oil Co. Lukoil said the field should yield around 150,000 barrels of oil per day in the coming years.
Online energy newspaper Upstream said Lukoil may be looking for a Chinese partner to help develop Iraq's oil potential.