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Monday, September 1, 2008

Oil deal would give China a 20-year supply of Iraqi crude

BAGHDAD — Iraq is expected to confirm within days a major energy deal with China that marks a change in the terms reached with the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry was to confirm the Chinese deal in early September. The ministry has also been negotiating technical service contracts with Western oil companies, Middle East Newsline reported.

The two countries signed a 20-year agreement estimated at $3 billion for the Iraqi supply of crude oil to China.

The agreement, signed in late April, stipulated the production of up to 125,000 barrels of oil per day in Iraq by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp.

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In the first stage, production at the Ahdab field in the Wasit province was set at 25,000 barrels of oil a day.

Officials said the accord marked a revision of a 1997 deal reached with China by the former Saddam Hussein regime.

That agreement called for China to share in the oil revenues. The latest agreement stipulated that Baghdad would pay China directly for its services.

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