China and Iraq have restarted talks over the $1.3 billion contract to develop the Al Ahdab oil field that was signed between the two countries in 1997, state media reported Friday.    Chinese officials arrived in Baghdad March 6 to hold talks with their Iraqi counterparts on the contract, the China Oilnews, an industry newspaper owned by China’s leading oil firm, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), said, citing an official from Iraq’s oil ministry.
In 1997, China negotiated the contract for the Al Ahdab oil field with then president Saddam Hussein and in 2001 it was in talks to develop the much larger Halfayah field.
But cooperation was then suspended due to continued violence and UN sanctions against Baghdad.
In late February, the Iraqi cabinet endorsed a draft oil law aiming to distribute revenues from crude oil exports equitably across 18 provinces and to open the sector to foreign investors.
The law is a stepping stone to securing foreign investment in Iraq’s oil reserves, the China Oilnews said.
Iraq’s proven oil reserves, estimated at 115 billion barrels, are thought to be among the largest in the world behind Saudi Arabia.
(Middle East Times)