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Exxon, Shell Win Iraq's West Qurna Contract

Source: Reuters 11/5/2009, Location: Middle East

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Iraq's oil ministry said that a group led by U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil beat three rival consortiums to win the contract to develop the giant West Qurna oilfield, one of several fields left unclaimed after a June auction.

The 20-year contract is one of a raft of agreements that Iraq is close to clinching, which could catapult the nation emerging from decades of strife and economic decline to the position of the world's third largest crude producer.

"The consortium led by Exxon Mobil, which includes Shell, won the contract to develop West Qurna Phase One oilfield," Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said.

Jihad said the consortium will sign an initial deal at 1400 local time (1100 GMT) and that it still needed cabinet approval.

Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell competed against Russia's LUKOIL, France's Total and a consortium led by China's CNPC for Phase One of the West Qurna field, which has reserves of 8.7 billion barrels.

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