BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Oil Ministry signed on Tuesday a preliminary contract with a consortium led by Russian Lukoil to develop the West Qurna Phase 2 oil field in southern Iraq.
Lukoil, partnered with Norway's Statoil ASA, will develop the oil field to produce 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its proven reserves of 12.88 billion barrels of oil.
The pair will be paid a remuneration fee of 1.15 dollars per barrel, according to the deal.
Lukoil owns 85 percent of the venture, while Statoil, 15 percent.
West Qurna Phase 2 is one of the world's biggest undeveloped oil fields. It lies west of the almost equally enormous Majnoon field which was won by a consortium led by British-Dutch Shell.
More than 40 world oil companies from 23 countries have participated in the Iraqi oil ministry auction on Dec. 11-12, which awarded seven contracts to international oil firms. The firms were seeking investment in 10 Iraqi oil fields in the country's second round of bidding since 2003.
The first auction round was held in June this year.
Iraq is aiming to increase its crude oil output capacity, currently at roughly 2.5 million bpd, to 12 million bpd in six or seven years.
Estimated at 115 billion barrels, Iraq holds the world's third largest proven oil reserves, only after Saudi Arabia and Iran.