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A First Crude in Payment for Halfaya Field Developing

Source: Reuters 12/18/2012, Location: Middle East

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China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's top oil and gas producer, has received its first cargo of crude oil as payment for helping to develop Iraq's Halfaya oilfield, the company said.

CNPC sent off from Iraq's Basra oil terminal a very large crude oil carrier carrying 2.0 million barrels of crude oil to China, it said on its website.

CNPC, the parent of PetroChina, is expected to lift its second 2.0 million barrels of crude from Halfaya in late January 2013, the company said.

State-owned CNPC said in June the first phase of Iraq's Halfaya oilfield had started operating and had a production capacity of 100,000 barrels per day (bpd).

CNPC, the first foreign oil company to sign an oil service contract in Iraq after former president Saddam Hussein was toppled, has started work on the second phase of Halfaya, which will take its capacity to 200,000 bpd.

It also plans to boost capacity to 600,000 bpd in the third phase of development, it added.

Iraq signed a contract 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.

Halfaya is CNPC's largest overseas project as an operator.

CNPC received its first cargo of crude oil as payment for helping develop Iraq's Rumaila oilfield in May 2011 and that for developing Al-Ahadab oilfield in December last year.

PetroChina will drop its term crude deal with Iraq in 2013, as it will be getting more crude supply as payment for investments in Iraqi oilfields, trade sources have said.

PetroChina sold almost all its share of Iraqi oil production in the market this year, rather than taking the cargoes back to China, because the company's refineries cannot process Iraqi oil, the sources have said.

CNPC's overseas oil and gas production topped 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent by Dec. 17, of which equity oil and gas accounted for 50.35 million tonnes, the company said in a separate statement on its website.

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