Iran troops withdraw from oil well, Iraq says

Iraq said on Sunday Iranian troops had withdrawn from a disputed oil well claimed by both Tehran and Baghdad.

Iran troops withdraw from oil well, Iraq says

Iraq said on Sunday Iranian troops had withdrawn from a disputed oil well claimed by both Tehran and Baghdad.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said a small group of Iranian troops who entered the oil well in a remote area along the two countries' border last week were no longer in control of the well, which Iraq considers part of its Fakka oilfield.

"The Iranian flag has been lowered. The Iranian troops have pulled back 50 metres, but they have not gone back to where they were before," said Dabbagh.

"The Iraqi government has asked for the troops to go back to where they were," he said.

Dabbagh said a joint Iraq-Iran committee would begin to look at demarcation of the border.

In Tehran, official Iranian media said on Sunday the foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq had discussed a "misunderstanding" between the countries' border guards.
In Saturday evening's phone conversation, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshiyar Zebari underlined the need for a meeting of officials with the intention of enforcing bilateral border agreements, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported.

Sarhan al-Moussawi, a member of the Maysan provincial council, said he believed the Iranian forces had withdrawn entirely to the Iranian side of the border.

According to Iraqis, the field is one of seven that comprise Fakka, a relatively small field that now produces about 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

But Iraqi officials say the well in question has only been operative briefly -- right before the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1970s -- and has been still since.

Iraq's Oil Ministry offered global companies a development contract for Fakka and nearby fields in an energy auction in June. But a Chinese consortium declined the ministry's proposed fee for running the fields.

The government is hoping that a host of new deals, some of which are due to be initialled this week, will transform the outdated oil industry and bring production capacity to an impressive 12 million bpd in six or seven years.

That would put Iraq just behind Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producer.



Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2009, 11:49
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