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Iraq To Meet Iran, Kuwait On Cross-Border Oil Fields -Min

ABUJA, Nigeria -(Dow Jones)- Iraqi officials are to meet representatives from Iran later this month and Kuwait after that to discuss sharing oil production contracts in cross-border fields, Iraq's oil minister said Thursday.

Speaking at a press briefing on the side of a Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting here, Hussein al-Shahristani said: "We will meet in a sitting committee...with Iran in December" to examine data on the fields.

Al-Shahristani added the parties will then "select a company in a bidding round to assess the reserves."

Separately, Al-Shahristani said some $1 billion of a $1.6 billion loan granted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation would be invested in a new fluid catalytic cracking unit at Basra's refinery.

An FCC unit produces lighter products such as gasoline from heavier crude fractions.

He said some of the loan would also be used for a new pipeline and floating terminal in the Gulf and the processing of gas, which is currently flared off.

In addition, the minister said he expects a new hydrocarbon law, which would enable the signature of the first national oil contracts since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, to be enacted in January.

He said all contracts signed under Saddam and since would be reviewed.

The new contracts would be overseen by an Iraq Petroleum Council that will define the rules of licensing qualifications as well as which companies could prequalify.

He said most details of the law had been agreed with the Kurds in the oil-rich north, who controversially have set up a separate licensing process, though there remained sticking points on the council's decision procedures.

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