West Qurna Output Could Rise To 400,000bpd By Year End

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Oil output at Iraq's super-giant West Qurna Phase One could jump to 400,000 barrels per day by the end of this year from the current production rate of 310,000 barrels per day, according to Iraqi oil official Madhi al-Maliki. The field was one of the most sought after by global oil majors that bid for development contracts in Iraq in 2009.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), the largest U.S. and European oil companies, respectively, are the primary operators of West Qurna. The field is believed to hold 8.7 billion barrels of oil reserves.

Exxon Mobil awarded engineering firm Fluor (FLR) a $250 million contract for early work on the field. The contract is reimbursable and is a continuing services agreement for oil field-related infrastructure development with an expected duration of three years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Exxon said earlier this week that output at West Qurna has risen to 285,000 barrels per day, but al-Maliki's estimate is higher by 25,000 barrels.

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