Photo taken on March 1, 2019 shows a welding worker working on a pipeline in China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC) Rumaila plant in the southern province of Basra, Iraq. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese company can offer financial, technical support and expertise for Iraqi government in reconstructing oil fields and increase their production, said Wang Xianghui, project director of Rumaila in China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC). (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
BAGHDAD, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese company can offer financial, technical support and expertise for Iraqi government in reconstructing oil fields and increase their production, said Wang Xianghui, project director of Rumaila in China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC).
Since April 2011, CPECC has been the main contractor of the Rumaila oil field, Iraq's largest oil field which is located in the southern province of Basra.
CPECC signed the first contract in Rumaila in 2011, and has so far implemented over 30 contracts. It is currently working with global companies, including the British Petrofac, and other local partners.
According to Wang, CPECC has managed to increase oil production of Rumaila from 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.5 million bpd.
CPECC has also played a major role in renovating the old facilities in the oil field, Wang said.
The Rumaila oil field has a long history and dates back to the 1950s-1960s, so most oil facilities there are out of service and need repair. Many of the pipes are damaged due to aging and wars.
"It is not easy to do the repair work in Iraq due to the wide technical gap. But we managed to bridge the gap eventually with our efforts," he said.
China is the biggest buyer of crude oil from Iraq, and one of the largest investors in Iraq's oil industry.
China has helped Iraq develop its oil industry and the cooperation between the two countries is expected to increase through the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Between 70 to 80 percent of the total pipelines in Rumaila field have been built by CPECC. Last year, the company built another 80 km to 90 km of pipelines here, said Zhao Rongguo, a manager of the working team.
Now over 500 Iraqis work in the field, about 70 occupy administrative positions. The company is seeking to increase the number of Iraqi employees to 70 percent of the company's total staff, he said.
CPECC has trained more than 100 Iraqi welder workers and 200 construction workers in the company's training center.
"We have benefited greatly from the Chinese advanced and modern expertise, which helped us develop our abilities and made us more experienced," Taha Yasin Majeed, an Iraqi engineer working with CPECC for three years, told Xinhua.
Majeed said he appreciated Chinese company's respect for its Iraqi employees.
"There is no difference between one person and another here. Everyone does his job. We eat together, work together and mutual respect prevails," Majeed said.
He said that the Chinese company provided all necessary amenities such as sports fields, gyms, beautiful gardens, everything is available and there is even a mosque built by the company for Muslims to pray.
Those who walk around the company's workshops of cutting and welding large pipes will notice the company's keenness on the safety of its employees, as it hanged large and colorful banners showing instructions written in Chinese and Arabic reminding workers to be careful and meticulous while working.
"I've been trained at the training center for two months and have acquired practical experiences," said Ali Kader Naim, one of the company's employees. "Now I am on practical training at the workshop on cutting and welding large pipes."
CPECC, one of China's largest oil and gas companies, is now also making an effort in supporting Iraq's education sector through building schools and providing aid.
"Since CPECC is a national company, we are committed to developing the local Iraqi community as well as empowering local workers significantly," said Liu Haijun, president of CPECC.
He said that the Chinese company has adopted a plan to keep jobs to Iraqi labor market.
"CPECC continues to implement the plan strictly to provide employment opportunities for locals and reduce the recruitment of foreign workers, with the aim of developing the Iraqi society and local communities," Liu said.
CPECC is the first Chinese oil company that entered Iraq in 1981. It made a significant contribution to the development of Iraq's oil and gas industry.
The company has also made great contribution to the development of the Middle East, through its participation in the Abu Dhabi crude oil pipeline project and oil field.