Iraq has agreed with Kuwait to appoint British energy advisory firm ERC Equipoise to prepare a study for the development of joint border oilfields, the Iraqi oil ministry said on Wednesday.
A contract is expected to be signed with the company in coming days, a statement from the ministry said. Under the contract, ERC Equipoise will conduct technical studies, such as examining reservoirs, for the Ratqa and Safwan fields.
There are several oilfields in the border area between Iraq and Kuwait, most prominently Ratqa, which is a southern extension of Iraq’s giant Rumaila field.
The study will set out the technical and legal mechanisms to invest in oilfields shared by the two countries.
Production from cross-border oilfields has long been a source of tension between Iraq and Kuwait, which are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
In the build-up to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Baghdad accused Kuwait of drilling wells that crossed the border and pumped oil from Iraqi territory. Kuwait denied the charge.