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Iraq launches fourth state oil company - Midland Oil Company

14 Feb 2010

Iraq's oil ministry has announced the launch of a fourth state company responsible for overseeing development in recently auctioned fields in the centre of the country. The Midland Oil Company will join the North, South, and Maysan companies as the latest state-owned organisation tasked with boosting production in the war-torn but energy-rich nation.

'We decided to establish the Middle Oil Company which will be responsible for developing the oil fields in Baghdad and surrounding provinces,' ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP. 'We took this decision following the country's recent decision to grant licences to foreign companies. The Middle Oil Company will supervise the new developments.'

The company, named Sharikat Naft Wasat, translates as Middle Oil Company in Arabic, but the oil ministry said it will be known as the Midland Oil Company in English. A previous Midland Oil Company existed under the rule of dictator Saddam Hussein, but it was amalgamated with the North Oil Company in the late 1980s.

A consortium of Russia's Gazprom, Turkey's TPAO, South Korea's Kogas and Malaysia's Petronas signed a deal to develop the 109-million-barrel Badra field, southeast of Baghdad, last month. The state-owned Iraqi Oil Exploration Company, which will be managed by the soon to be formed Midland Oil Company, has a 25 percent stake in the deal.

The Midland Oil Company will also be responsible for managing oilfields in Anbar, Babil, Diyala, Diwaniyah, Karbala and Wasit provinces, according to the ministry. Iraq has the world's third largest oil reserves, behind only Saudi Arabia and Iran, with an estimated 115 billion barrels. Oil sales provide 85 percent of government revenues.

Source: Newswires

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