Total Wants Bigger Stake in Iraq's Halfaya Field

Source: Reuters 4/22/2010, Location: Middle East

Total is consdering a bigger stake in the Halfaya oilfield, in a bid to increase its presence in Iraq, its chief executive said.

China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) is the majority partner in the oilfield and Total owns an 18.75 percent stake in the field. "Iraq is a strong part of our strategy in the world and we certainly don't intend to remain a minority partner in the Halfaya field," Christophe de Margerie told an international oil conference in Paris. Iraq, which has the world's third largest oil proven reserves, signed a final contract earlier this year to develop Halfaya with CNPC, Total and Malaysian state firm Petronas [PETR.UL].

Halfaya, in southern Iraq, has estimated reserves of 4.1 billion barrels of oil.

The field could help turn Iraq into one of the world's three biggest oil producers and earn Iraq billions of dollars it needs to rebuild after decades of war, sanctions and economic decline.

The deals emerging from two oil contract auctions could raise Iraqi output capacity in seven years to 12 million barrels per day, rivalling top producer Saudi Arabia, from around 2.5 million barrels oer day now.

But Iraq's oil miniter has raised questions over the planned expansion as Baghdad considers OPEC output curbs that may keep supply well short of ambitious capacity targets.


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