Iraq inks oil deal with Lukoil

An Iraqi worker operates valves at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the city of Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. Lukoil and Norway's Statoil ASA took the biggest prize in the closing round of the two-day bidding: the 12.88 billion barrel West Qurna Phase 2 field in the Basra region. The deal was a coup for the Russian firm, which had been promised the field under Saddam Hussein's regime. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jourani) (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jourani)

December 29, 2009 4:50:21 AM PST
A consortium led by Russia's private oil giant Lukoil on Tuesday signed an initial deal with Iraq to develop one of its biggest oil fields, an agreement key to the war-ravaged nation's efforts to boost the output of a resource crucial to its postwar reconstruction efforts.