China, Iraq Aim To Team Up To Develop Oil Field

A pending deal with the state-run China National Petroleum Corp. calls for China to help develop an oil field south of Baghdad, Iraq. It would be the first contract Iraq has signed with a big foreign oil company since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Iraq needs help to develop its oil fields, and China needs energy for its fast growing economy.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's business news starts with Iraq and China and a big oil deal.

The deal calls for China to help develop an oil field south of Baghdad. If both governments approve, it would be the first contract that Iraq has signed with a big foreign oil company since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The deal with the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation is worth a reported $3 billion.

The logic does make sense to the two countries involved. Iraq needs billions of dollars to develop its oil fields. China needs energy for its fast growing economy and is also apparently willing to take a risk. Other big oil companies are hesitant to sign deals with Iraq until the government passes a law governing the oil industry.

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