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South Korea To Develop Iraq Oil Field

South Korea signed a non-binding agreement worth $3.55 billion to develop an oil field in southern Iraq as it seeks a foothold in the country with the world's third-largest crude oil reserves, Bloomberg reported

South Korea To Develop Iraq Oil Field

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani signed the deal to develop the oil field in Basra, where most of Iraq’s crude oil reserves are located, Lee’s office said in a statement after the two leaders met in Seoul Monday.

Lee also asked Talabani to assist South Korean companies with bids to develop oil and gas fields in central and southern Iraqi, build an oil refinery project in Baghdad and to purchase a power generator, according to the statement. The Iraqi government welcomes South Korean companies’ bids and will review them, Talabani said, according to Lee’s office.

South Korea imports almost all its energy needs and is stepping up efforts alongside China and Japan to garner stakes in overseas oil fields to secure supplies. Iraq needs money to rebuild the nation and its oil infrastructure following years of war and economic sanctions.

The statement from Lee’s office also said South Korea’s Incheon International Airport signed a $31 million operational management contract with Irbil International airport, located in the Kurdish town of Irbil. The Iraqi president is on a four-day visit to South Korea.

South Korea deployed as many as 3,600 non-combat troops to Irbil from 2004 to 2008 to help rebuild the region and provide medical assistance.

Author: Ksenia Kochneva

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