BAGHDAD, July 25 (UPI) -- Oil production from the al-Ahdab field in southern Iraq could reach 200,000 barrels per day next year, the country's oil minister said.
Iraqi officials announced production started at the al-Ahdab field in Wasit province along the border with Iran. Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said oil production would increase from the current rate of 60,000 bpd to around 200,000 bpd next year, Bloomberg News reports.
China National Petroleum Corp. won production rights for al-Ahdab during November 2008 auctions. Field totals are estimated at around 1 billion barrels.
The Iraqi finance minister in May confirmed the first oil export payment to contractors in the Kurdish region. Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said the federal government in Baghdad confirmed payment to the Kurdistan Regional Government for revenues derived from the export of 5 million barrels of oil early this year.
Baghdad doled out dozens of oil and gas contracts since 2003. The country is trying to ramp up oil exports to help stimulate an economy ravaged by pre-war economic sanctions.