China is the second-largest oil consumer in the world after the United States, sucking up more than 8 million barrels of oil per day. With its economy booming, that demand is expected to increase dramatically.
Speaking to delegates from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at their regular meeting in Angola, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said Baghdad will increase oil exports from roughly 144,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd in 2010, The Times of London reports.
Chinese companies have flocked to the post-war Iraqi oil sector. China National Petroleum Co. clinched a deal this week for the giant Halfaya oil field. CNPC already has the rights to develop Iraq's largest oil field, Rumaila, and is tasked with restoring al-Ahdba field in the eastern province of Wasit.
Iraq opened its second post-war round of oil auctions Dec. 11, scoring contracts at some of its largest oil fields. With deals in hand, Baghdad expects to approach Saudi Arabia in terms of production within the next decade, though the deals still must pass through Parliament.