Iraq’s cabinet has awarded a $526.6m drilling contract to China’s Zhongman Petroleum & Natural Gas at the West Qurna-2 oil field in the south of the country.

The Chinese group will drill 66 production wells over a 28-month period.

The West Qurna-2 development is operated by Russia’s Lukoil, which owns a 75 per cent stake in a concession.

The field’s current production capacity is 400,000 barrels a day (b/d), but output has not yet been ramped up to full capacity.

Lukoil has several engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages out to tender for the field’s expansion.

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