by Daniel J. Graeber
Baghdad (UPI) Sep 30, 2014
The Iraqi government said Tuesday it welcomed French diplomats in Baghdad to discuss natural security and economic ties, including ties in the oil sector.
Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi met in Baghdad with French Ambassador to Iraq Mark Barity to discuss bilateral ties.
French energy company Total has a 20-year development and production service contract through a consortium led by PetroChina Co. to develop the Halfaya oil field in Iraq's eastern Missan province.
Halfaya could eventually produce as much as 535,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Oil Ministry said Mahdi received congratulations from the French envoy for his "willingness to develop the mutual relations in all the sectors, especially the oil sector."
Iraq's oil sector has come under threat from the Sunni-led terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State, which occupies parts of northwestern Iraq.
The Oil Ministry reports August exports were down more than 2 percent from the 75.7 million barrels sent from southern port cities the previous month.
Total last year was cleared by a Parisian court of violating U.N. sanctions during Iraq's controversial oil-for-food program.
A U.N. committee led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker said in 2005 there were thousands of companies allegedly involved in illegal activities tied to the oil-for-food program for Iraq.
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