Turkish Petroleum International Company (TPIC) has won a $318m drilling contract in the southern Rumaila oilfield, Reuters reports.

The contract is to drill 45 wells, according to a senior Iraqi oil official.

The Rumaila field in the Basrah province is being developed by UK oil major BP and its partner, China National Petroleum Company, after they signed a 20-year contract in 2009.

The two companies plan to invest $15bn over the duration of the contract.

State-owned South Oil Company is yet to make a decision on a tender to drill a further 56 wells.

The field contains some 17 billion barrels of crude reserves. Production in 2009 was 1 million barrels a day.