Halfaya On Stream 15 Mths Ahead of Schedule

State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) says the first phase of Iraq's Halfaya oilfield has started operating at 100,000 bpd, 15 months ahead of schedule.

The company says it has already started preliminary work on the second phase of development at the field, which will bring the capacity to 200,000 bpd.

Iraq signed a 20-year oil production agreement in 2010 to develop Halfaya with CNPC, France's Total and Malaysian state company Petronas, for a fee of $1.40 per barrel. CNPC has a 37.5 percent interest in the consortium. The Halfaya project is CNPC's largest overseas investment unit for which it also acts as the operator.

Last year, CNPC completed the first phase of the Al-Ahdab oilfield in Iraq, with a capacity of 60,000 bpd. CNPC, the parent of PetroChina, also received its first cargo of crude oil as payment for helping to develop Iraq's Rumaila oilfield last year.

China's crude oil imports from Iraq rose 17 percent on year to 5.95 million tonnes, or 359,000 bpd, in the first four months of this year.

(Sources: CNPC, Reuters)

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