Iraq makes landmark payment to IOC

BP lifts 2 million barrels of Iraqi crude, the first payment in a new era of oil contracting with foreign firms.
Michael Townshend (L), then-president of BP Iraq, walks with an official of Iraq's South Oil Company at the Rumaila oil field in Basra province on May 24, 2010. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)

BAGHDAD - BP has lifted a 2-million-barrel tanker of oil as payment for its work in the massive Rumaila oil field, the first payout to any of the international oil companies (IOCs) contracted to make Iraq the biggest producer ever.

IOCs and investors have paid close attention to the Rumaila project, the most advanced of Iraq’s new oil deals, as a leading indicator of how foreign companies might fare in the country’s oil sector. The payment is a promising achievement for a project that has faced many hurdles, including a lawsuit challenging the legality of the contract and a byzantine Iraqi bureaucracy that has taken its time to audit and process BP’s bills.

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