China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and UK energy major BP hope to increase production at the Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq by 13.6 per cent by the end of 2010, CNPC announced in a 12 July statement.

Crude oil production at Iraq’s largest oil field is expected to rise to 1.17 million barrels a day (b/d) from the current 1.03 million b/d.

Operational management of the field had been transferred to Rumaila Field Operating Organisation (ROO) a consortium of CNPC, BP and Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company at the beginning of the month.

The partners signed a 20-year development contract for the 17-billion-barrel field in the Basra province in June 2009 in Iraq’s first post-war oil field bid round. The two companies plan to invest $15bn over the duration of the contract. The companies are expected to raise production to 2.85 million b/d within seven years. Baghdad plans to boost the country’s oil production to 4.7 million b/d by 2016 and as much as 12 million b/d by 2020.

The Rumaila deal was the first of 11 contracts awarded to international oil companies (IOCs) to develop the country’s oil and gas resources.

BP awarded a series of new contracts for drilling work at the field in March, worth a combined $500m (MEED 31:3:10).