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Demining needed in Iraq,oil giants say

MOSCOW, March 29 (UPI) -- Gazprom Neft leads a consortium of investors in Iraq calling on the government to clear mines from the Badra oil field near the Iranian border.

Iraqi authorities report there are more than 27 million pieces of unexploded ordnance in Iraq from the war with Iran in the 1980s. The largest number of mine fields is near Badra in Wasit province.

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Gazprom Neft said demining of the region was required to retrieve oil in the border region, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Reserves near Badra are estimated at around 2 billion barrels of oil and the project should cost around $2 billion, the report added.

Gazprom Neft, the oil division of energy monopoly Gazprom, leads a consortium along with KoGas from South Korea, Petronas from Malaysia and Turkey's TPAO at Badra.

Gazprom Neft under the terms of a 2009 agreement with the Iraqis will develop the Badra field in Wasit province for the next 20 years. Total capacity could reach 170,000 barrels per day.

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