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Kuwait, Iraq to develop joint oilfields

Iraq has agreed with Kuwait to appoint British energy advisory firm ERC Equipoise to prepare a study for the development of joint border oilfields, the Iraqi oil ministry announced on Wednesday.

In an official statement, the ministry explained that the study would "set out the technical and legal mechanisms to invest in oilfields shared by the two countries."It added that it would sign a contract with ERC "in the coming days."

Under the contract, ERC would conduct technical studies, such as examining reservoirs for the Ratqa and Safwan fields.

In August, the Kuwaiti oil minister, Bakheet Al-Rashidi, said that his country would agree with Iraq to develop joint border oilfields "before the end of the year," adding that the deal would include "natural gas import from Iraq."

There are several oilfields in the border area between Iraq and Kuwait, most prominently Ratqa, which is a southern extension of Iraq's giant Rumaila field. Production from cross-border oilfields has long been a source of tension between Iraq and Kuwait, which are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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